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I if 












VOL- I. 









The acknowledged want in our own language of a work 
exhibiting a comprehensive view of foreign Literature, and 
the established reputation of M. de Sismondi, as an elegant 
and accomplished writer, will preclude the necessity of any 
apology, on the part of the Translator, for presenting to the 
public the following volumes, which have already, in their 
original form, acquired an extensive and merited celebrity. 
It has been the object of the Translator, in the execution of 
his task, to adhere as closely as possible to the text of the 
original ; no part of which be îias taken upon himself either 
to suppress or enlarge, witb the exception of one or two 
peculiar instances, whete the extent of the alteration is pointed 
out. With regard to the poetical extracts, introduced by M. 
de Sismondi, and which are generally translated by him into 
French prose, the Editor has adopted, where practicable, 
such established English translations as already existed. In 
other instances he has either been indebted to the kindness of 
his friends, or has been compelled to insert his own metrical 

Sd May, 1823. 







Ifntrodoction. — Corrnption of the Latin, and Formation of the Bomanee 
Laoguage « • Fage 

On the Literature of the Arabians S7 


Birth of the Poetry and Language of FroTenee.-*Infliienee of the Ara- 
bians on the genius and taste of the Troubadours 45 



On the State of the Troubadours, and on their Amatory and Martial 
Poems 65 


On some of the more celebrated Troubadours 91 


The War against the Albigenses. — ^The last Proyençal Poets, in Langue- 
doc and Catalonia f 12 


On the Romance-Wallon, or Langue d*Oif, and on the Komanees of 
Chivalry 130 






Oa the Tarioua Poetry of the Troayères ; their Anc|;orie8 ; Fabliaux ; 
Lyrical Poems; Mysteries and Moralities Page 159 


On the Italian Langiiage.— Dante ^^ 


On the Inflnence of Dante over his age.— Petrarch . • SI 


Boecaecio. — Italian Literatare, at the close of the Fourteenth, and 
during the Fifteenth Century S89 

Politiano, Pulci, Boiardo, and Ariosto 247 

Alamanai. — ^Bernardo Tasso. — Trissino. — ^Tasso 275 

Remarks on Tasso concluded 899 


State of Literature in the Sixteenth Century. — Trissino, Rucellai, Sanaz- 
zaro, Berni, Machiavelli, Pietro Aretino, &c 320 


On the Decline of Italian Literature in the Seyenteenth Century. — The 
age of the SeicerUisH * 350 


The Eighteenth Century. — Frugoni.-— Metastasio 380 




Iulian Litentun is the Eit^teenth Centurj continiied :— Comedtoa-* 
Ck>ldoiii F^^ 406 


The Italian Comedy coBtinied : — Goui ; Albergati ; Avelloni ; Fedeû* 
ci; Bossi; Pindemootiy'^&e ••• 4t9 


Alfieri 454 





OF the; 



bfrodiietioii— 'CompUon of the Latin, and Fonnation of the Romance fiangwagea. 

The 8tqdy of foreigo literatore does not at all times possess 
the same impoitaoce, or the same degree of ioterest* At the 
period when nations, yet in their infiincy, are animated by a crea- 
tive genius, which endows them with a poetry and literature of 
their own, while it renders them, at the same time, capable of 
splendid enterprises, susceptible of lofty passions, ^nd disposed 
to great sacrifices, the literatore of other nations is unknown to 
them» Each draws from its own bosom that which best harmo* 
nizes with its nature. Eloquence, in such a nation, is the expres- 
sion of natural sentiment ; poetry, the play of an imagination yet 
nnezhaosted. Among such a people, no one writes for the 
sake of writing ; no one speaks ^nerely for the sake of speaking. 
To produce a deep impression, there is no need either of rules 
or examples. The orator touches the inmost soul of his hearer, 
because his words proceed from the depths of his own heart* 
The priest obtains a mastery over the conscience, and in turns 
awakens love or terror, because he is himself convinced of the 
truth of the dogmas which he inculcates ; because he feels the 
duties he proclaims, and is only the organ of the inspirations with- 
in him. The historian places before the eyes of his readers the 
events of past times, because he is still agitated by the passions 
which produced them ; because the glory of his country is the 
first passion of his heart ; and because he wishes to preserve by 
bis writings, that which his valour has contributed to acquire. 
The epic poet adds durability to these historical ^ recollections, 
by clothing them in a language more conformable to the inspira- 
tions of his imagination, and more analogous to those emotions 
which it is his object to awaken. The lyric poet abaiidons 
himself to the transports of which he has so deep a sense ; while 
the tragedian places before our eyes the picture of which his 
YoL. !. 2 


fancy has first formed a perfect conception. Manner and lan- 
guage, to such a creative genius as this, are merely the means of 
rendering its emotions more popular. Each seeks, and each dis- 
covers in himself that harmonious touch, to which all hearts must 
respond ; each affects others, in pursuing only that which aiSects 
himself; and art becomes unnecessary, because every thing is 
supplied by nature and by feeling. 

Such was Greece in her infancy ; such, perhaps, were the 
European nations, in their first developement, during the middle 
ages ; and such are all nations which by their native energy rise 
out of barbarism, and which have- not suffered the spirit of imita- 
tion to extinguish their natural vigour. At this period of civiliza- 
tion, an acquaintance with foreign languages, with foreign litera- 
ture, and with foreign rules, cannot but be pernicious. To offer 
to a people thus gifted with ardent genius, models which they 
might, perhaps, attempt to imitate, before they are capable of 
appreciating them, is much to be deprecated. It is better to 
leave them to themselves. Feeling, with them, takes the lead of 
judgment, and may conduct them to the highest results ; but they 
are ever ready to abandon it for art, which, while they are en- 
tirely unacquainted with it. appears to them to possess superior 
attractions. They ask with eagerness for rules, while they them- 
selves should be the examples to serve as rules to . after- ages. 
The more vigour the human mind possesses, the more disposed it * 
Î8 to submit itself to authority. It almost always turns its strength 
against itself; and the first exertion it makes of its power is ,too 
often directed to its own extinction. Fanaticism seems to be the 
malady peculiar to this period of civil society. The vigour of the 
political or religious institutions which then arise, is proportioned 
to the energy of the characters which are at the same time deve- 
loped ; and nations endowed with the most powerful faculties, 
have failed to occupy a place in the history of the world, or of 
literature, because they have wasted their best energies in the 
subjugation of themselves. Many striking examples of this an- 
nihilation of the human mind are to be found in the political, and 
more especially in the religious history of man. The history of 
literature also presents a few. Thus, the Spartans felt themselves 
gifted with an extraordinary vigour of character, and passions un- 
usually strong. They were in the full enjoyment of liberty and 
youth, and for these very reasons they employed the whole ener* 
gy of their will in subduing themselves. After making themselves 
acquainted with the most severe codes, like those of the Cretans 
and the Egyptians, they thought their political labours incomplete, 
until they had availed themselves of the public liberty to deprive 
the citizens of all free will/ So, also, in the fervour of a recent 
conversion, the religious feelings display a similar reaction. The 
monastic orders impose upon themselves more rigorous penances, 
in proportion to the impetuosity which faith and zeal have 
awakened in their peculiar character. Thus, too, in that effer- 

ËUaOPEAlf LAN6VA«Bi. 11 

V^ceûce of floni which produces the poet, we often see young 
tninds abandon the study of truth and of nature, to encumber 
themaelves with the fetters of a refined versification. We find 
them designedly planning the recurrence of certain words, and 
the return of rhymes which restrict their thoughts ; thus pro* 
posing as the ornaments of their composition, the difficulties 
which they have voluntarily imposed upon themselves, instead of 
indul^Dg the natural warmth of their imaginations. In the three 
intellectual occupations which are generally supposed to be so 
dissimilar, in politics, religion, and poetry, the impetuosity of the 
human character thus makes itself manifest by the very love of 
confinement and constraint, and the energy of the mind is seen to 
react contiDoally upon itself. 

The literature of other countries has been frequently adopted 
by a young nation with a sort of fanatical admiration» The genius 
of those countries having been so often placed before it as the per- 
feet model of all greatness and of all beauty, every spontaneous 
movement has been repressed, in order to make room for the 
most servile imitation, and every national attempt to develope an 
original character has been sacrificed to the reproduction of some- 
thing conformable to the model which has been always before its 
eyes. Thus the Romans checked themselves in the vigour of 
their first conceptions, to become emulous copyists of the Greeks; 
and thus the Arabs placed bounds to their intellectual efforts, that 
they might rank themselves among the disciples of Aristotle. 
So the Italians in the sixteenth century, and the French in the 
seventeenth, desirous only of imitating the ancients, did not suffi- 
ciently consult, in their poetical attempts, their own religion, man- 
ners, and character. And thus, again, the Germans, for a period 
of no long duration, and the Poles and the Russians to the present 
day, have repressed their own peculiar spirit, in order to adopt 
the laws of French literature, and to convert themselves into a 
nation of imitators and translators. 

The period, however, during which the human mind is gifted 
with this degree of energy, is never of long continuance in any 
country» Reflection soon succeeds to this vehement efferves- 
cence ; self-examination takes place, and an inquiry is instituted 
into the effect of the exertions which have been made.* The mind 
feeds upon its own enthusiastic feelings, which withdraw them- 
selves from the observation of others. All the rules of composi- 
tion are discovered as the faculty of applying them is lost; the 
spirit of analvsis chills the imagination and the heart, and the somr- 
ing flight of genius is at an end. We cannot conceal from our» 
selves that we have long since arrived at this second period. 
The mind, is no longer ignorant of itself. Its course is foreseen, 
its effects are calculated upon. Genius has lost its wings and its 
power» and it is in vain to look, in the present age, for any of those 
inspired productions, in which genius, instead of s|>eculating 
upon its own powers, advances towards its goal without nicely in- 


qtiiriog into tbe conséquences, with no rolet tè confine it, aoA 
with no guidé but its own native superiority. We have arrived 
at the age of analysis and philosophy; when every thing is 'mat- 
ter of observatioD, even to the mode of observing, and every 
thing is governed by rnles, even to the art of imposing tulei. 
Reânement of intellect has gained the superiority over mere ns- 
tive "talent. The latter cannot now advance without the aid of 
knowledge, which is indispensably requisite in our sentiments, our 
thoughts, and our conversation. It is necessary to be perpetually 
comparing ourselves with others, because we are ourselves 
always the objects of comparison ; it is necessary to learn what 

. is known, not merely for th'e sake of imitation, but of preserving 
our own positidta. When habit, education, and imperfect acquisi- 
tions, have already given a certain direction to our minds, we 
•hall follow that beaten track more servilely in proportion to the 
disadvantages of our situation ; and ^ on the contrary, we shall 
display more originality in proportion to our acquaintance With 
evei^y kind of knowledge. The genfus of man can never again 
approach its noble origin, and recover the station which it held 
before the birth of prejudices, but by elevating itself sufficiently 
above them to compare and analyze them all. 

To be content with the study of our own literature is to remttin 
in this state of imperfect knowledge. The creators éf it Wterie 

' animated with an inspiration which has expired, and they found 
in their own hearts rules which they never took the trouble of 
expounding. They produced master-pieces ; but we must not 
confound these master-pieces with models. There are no models 
but for those who willingly degrade themselves to the wretched 
condition of imitators. Tbe critics, who succeeded them, dis- 
covered in their performances the course most approprii^ to 
their genius, and perhaps to the national genius of the French. 
They indicated the path by which these great intellects arrived 
at such extraordinary results, and showed that any other route 
would have diverted them from their object. They pointed out 
the conventional rules which had been observed, and which they 
have thus rendered essential, in the judgment of the public, for 
whose benefit they laboured. They have made us acquainted 
with our prejudices, and they have at the same time, confirmed 
us in thetn* These prejudices are legitimate. They are derived 
from the authority of our greatest authors. We need onl^ guard 
\>ur6elves against supposing that these rales are essentially neces- 
sary to the productions of the human mind. Other great aothora 
lÉre found in other languages ; they have formed the ornaments of 
the literature of other nations t they, too, have swayed the pas- 
sions, and produced the- same effects, which we are accustomed 
to consider as the consequences of our ow^n eloquence and poetry. 
Let us study their manners ; let us estimate them not by our own 
rules, but by those to which they themselves conformed. ' Let us 
team todisttnguisb the genius of man from the genius- of natiotWr 


cmd to niée ourtelret to that lieiglit whence we may dittiognish 
tbe riiiei whicè «re demed from the essential principles of beautj, 
ami which are •cobnuob to all lanf^nagesy from those which are 
adopkd from great examples, which custom has sanctioned, refine^ 
meaft jastified, and propriety still upholds ; hot which may, not- 
wiihataniMng, among other nations, gi^e place to other roles, de- 
pendlag upon other notions of propriety and other cnstoms, sanc- 
tioned by other examples, and approved by the test of another, 
and, pei^faaps, not less perfect, mode of analysis. 

It will, therefore, be both useful and interesting to take a re- 
TÎew of the modem literature of other countries ; to examine its 
«arly origin among the various nations of Europe; the spirit 
which animated it, and the different masterpieces which it has 
prodnced. In order to render a course like this complete, wa 
extent of knowledge, and a familiar acquaintance with languages, 
would, no doubt, be necessary, to which 1 am far-from making any 
pretffiBsions. I am ignorant of the Oriental lainguagea, and yet it 
was the Ardnan which, ijiiiliyraddle ages, gate a new impulse 
to the titerature of Europe^ ancnM&ged the^enrse of Une human 
I mind. I am ignorant, likewise, of the Sclavonic tongues, and yet 
the Rnsaiao ami the Polish boast of literary treasures, a brief ac- 
count of which I could present to my readers only on the authority 
t»f others. Amoi^ the Teutonic languages I am acquainted 
5rith the Ea^ish and tfeie^ ( g^Hfcj^ alone ; and the literature of 
Hoilaod, Denmark, and S^^C^HMnj^ooly accessiblei to me in an 
imperiect manner through the'wedium of GermaA translations. 
'Stitt the languages of which I shall give a summai^ account, are 
those in which there exist the greatest number of asasterpieces, 
and which at the same time possess the most original and novel 
spirit; and, iBdeed,.even with these restrictions, the ground which 
I intend to traverse is eitill sufficiently extensive. 

I shall diride modern literature into two classes, which I shall 
noake the subject of two courses : one on the Romance, the other 
ùB the Teutonic langoiqges. In the first, after casting a glance 
over the brilliant period of Arabian literature, I shall successively 
take a review of the nations of the South who formed their poetry 
in the Oriental schools ; and, first of all the Provençab, who first 
introdttced the poetry of romance into Europe. I shall endea- 
vour to render my readers acquainted with their Troubadours, so 
renowned and yet so neglected, and to prove how much the poets 
of all qaodern ages owe to these, their earliest masters. At the 
same ikvâe I shall take the q>portunity <tf spedting of the Trou-* 
veura, the poets of the country to the north of the Loire, from 
whom Europe derives her Fabliaux^ heV chivalric romances, and 
her eariiest draAiatic representations. From their language, the 
Rooiuaice WMffn^ or Mmgue d' ot7, the French was afterwards 
formed. After these dead, though modern languages, 1 shall give 
some account of the literature of Italy, which, among all the Ian' 
guages of the Sotttb^ baa exi^rcised the greatest influence over 


the rest. I shall take it up from its origin about the time o( 
Dante, and shall continue it down to our own times. In the same 
manner I shall treat of the literature of SpatUi of which the ear" 
liest remains are anterior, by more than a century, to the first 
Italian poetç, although in the reis^ of Charles V. the Castilians at* 
tempted to imitate the great models which they had learned to 
value in Italy. We ought, however, to r^nk the nations, not ac* 
cording to the antiquity of their first attempts, but by the influence 
which the cultivation of each has exercised over the others* The 
course will be concluded by the literature of Portugal with which, 
perhaps, the majority of my readers are only acquainted through 
the masterpiece of Camoens, but which, in fact, could not have 
produced so great a writer, without at the same time possessing 
many distinguished poets and historians worthy of partaking his 

I intend in the same manner to take a view, in my second course, 
of the literature of England and Germany, and to. make some ob- 
servations on that of the other Teutonic nations, as well as oe 
that of the nations descended from the Sclavonians, the Poles, and 
the Russians. 

In the execution of a design so extensive, and so much beyond 
the capacity of a single individual, I shall not have the preaamp« 
tion to affect originality. I shall eagerly avail myself of the la- 
bours of the critics and literary historians ; and I shall, occasion- 
ally, be under the necessity of borrowing from them their opinions 
on works which I have not myself read, and which lean do no 
more than point out to the attention of my readers.* But as I have 

* I am only acquainted with two works which eomprahead that portioD of 
literary hutory of which I purpose to treat in this course. The first, the plan 
of which is Tery extensive, is that of Andres, a Spanish Jesuit, and professor 
at Mantua, DdP Origine e dt^ Progressi <f ogni LettertOura, 5 tofs. 4to. Parma, 
1788. The author has sketched the history of all human sciences in ereiy lan- 
guage and in all parts of the world ; and with wonderful erudition has tneed, 
in a philosophical manner, the progress of the human mind. Bat as he has not 
giTcn any examples, and has not analyzed the peculiar tastes of each nation, 
and as his rapid judgments do not always contain the grounds of his decision, 
he has not succeeded in giving a dear idea of the writers jind works of whieh 
he has collected the names, nor does he enable his readers to form their own 
opinions. There is much more practical instruction to be found in the work 
of Professor Boutterwek, of 6ottiiu;en, who is employed upon the History of 
Literature, properly so called, in Modern Europe. {DriedHeh BùuUerwekt 
GtsehiehU ear Selmen WUtensehtfien^ 8 vols. 8vo. 1801—1810.) As yet he 
has only compiled the literary history of Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, and 
England ; but he has executed his taÀ with an extent of erudition, and with 
a regard to die instruction of his readers, which seem peculiar to the German 
writers. I am more indebted to this than to any other critical work. For the 
particular history of each language I have possessed still more ample resources; 
Millot (Bittaire lÀttétaSm des TnuhodrnKn) has been my principal gaide in Pro* 
▼ençal literature ; Tiraboschi, and in the first three volumes of bis excellent 
work, M. Ginguené, in Italian ; Nicolas Antonio, Velasquez, with the Com- 
mentary of Dieze, and Diogo Barbosa, in Spanish and Portuguese ; and Aug. 
W. Schlegel, in the dramatic literature of every nation. I here beg to ae- 


propoied rather to make the reader acquainted with the matter- 
pieces of foreign langnaget, than to pass a judgment npon them 
according to arbitrary rules, or to give the history of their authors» 
I have bad recourse to the originals as often as it was in my power, 
and whenever tbeir reputation seemed to render them worthy of 
examination ; and it is my intention rather to extract and give trans- 
lations of the mo8t beautifol pieces I can collect in the languages 
of the South, than to detail the doubtful opinions uf the critics» 

The languages which are spoken by the inhabitants of the soath 
of Europe, from the extremity of Portugal to that of Calabria or 
Sicily, and which usually receive the designation of the Romance 
languages, are all derived from the mixture of the Latin with the 
Teutonic ; of the people who were accounted Romant, with the 
barbarous nations which overthrew the Empire of Rome. The 
diversities which exist among the Portuguese, the Spanish, the 
Provençal, the French, and the Italian, arise rather from accidental 
circumstances than from any distinction between these different 
races of men. Each of these tongues is founded upon the Latin, but 
the form is often barbarous. A great number of the word8.>were 
introduced into the language by the conquerors, but by far the 
greater number belong to the vanquished people. The grammar 
was formed by mutual concessions. More complicated than that 
of the purely Teutonic nations, and more simple than that of the 
Greeks and Romans, it has not, in any of the languages of the 
South, preserved the cases in the nouns ; but making a selection 
among the varying terminations of the Latin, it has created a new 
word from the nominative for the Italian, and from the accusative 
for the Spanish, while for the French it has contracted the word, 
and varied it from both of those terminations.* This original di- 

kaowledge generally my obligations to all these critics, because in a work (torn 
necessity of so condensed a character, and composed to be read as lectures, I 
ha?é frequently aTailed myself of their labours, and sometimes even of their 
thoughts, without citing them. If I had wished, as in an historical work, to 
produce my authorities for every fact and opinion, it would have beep necessary 
to have added notes to almost every line, and to liave suspended, in a fatiguing 
manner, the delivery of the lecture, or the attention of the audience. In cri- 
ticd history it would be ridiculous to Mtempt never to repeat what has been 
said before ; and to endeavour to separate, in every sentence, what belongs to 
ourselves from what is the property of others, would be little better than vanity 
and affectation. 

'*' This rule more especially applies to the plural. The following are a few 
examples of these contractions. 

LtH, ttid. Span, Portug, Prcvm. French, 

Ocidi oechi ojos oilhos huelhs yeux (œils) 

Cœli cieli cielos ceos ecus cieuz 


Since the publication of this work, M. Raynouard, in the grammar prefixed 
to his Chtix dti Poésies originaUs des Troukadours^ has shown, that in their lan- 
guage the noons were formed from Latin substantives, by depriving them of 


▼ersiiy gives a peenUar character t0 each language ; but il doea 
not prevent us from recogaising the common toarce of all. Qq 
,the bodrders of the Danube, the Wallachiana and the Bolgariana 
speak also a language which nay be known as a descendant of the 
Latin, and which its great resemblance to the Italian renders easy, 
to be comprehended. Of the two elements of which it is com-» 
posed, it has one in common with the ltaliaaH*»the Latin ; the 
other is entirely difierent-— the Sclavonic instead of the German. 

The Teutonic languages themselves are not abaolatel]^ exempt 
from this primitive mixture. Thus the English, which i^ far the 
most part a corrupt German dialect, has been mingled partly with 
the Breton or Gaelic, and partly with the French, which has given 
it some analogy to the Romance languages. Its character bears a 
greater impress of harshness than the German ; its grammar is 
more simple, and it might be said more barbarous, if the cultiva* 
tion which this language has subsequently received, had not educed 
new beauties even from that very circumstance. The German 
has not remained what it was, when it was spoken by the people 
wbo^ overthrew the Roman empiroé It appears to have borrowed 
for a period, and afterwards to have lost, a portion of the Latin 
syntax. When the study of letters began to extend itself over the 
North, with Christianity, the Germans attempted to give each case 
of their nouns a different termination, as in the Latin, This ren- 
dered their language more sonorous, and admitted more vowels in 
the construction of their words ; but these modifications, which 
were, no doubt, contrary to the genius of the people, were in the 
end abandoned, and this distinction between the German and the 
Latin was ^ain restored. 

Thus, from one end of Europe to the other, the encounter 
of two mighty nations, and the mixture of two mother tongues, 
confounded all the dialects, and gave rise to new ones in their 
place. A long period of time now elapsed, during which it might 
almost be supposed that the nations of Europe were without a 
language. From the fifth to the tenth century, various races, 
always n^w, were mingled, without being confounded. Each 
village, each hamlet, contained some Teutonic conqueror, with 
bis barbarian soldiers, and a number of vassals, the remains of 

tboM characterbtic terminations which marked the cases ; for the barbarians, 
ignorant of the declensions and the rules of grammar, did not know how to 
employ them. The termination of %Kt oeeiMafioe was more freqaently cut olT; 
thus, oMotmi became MtA; infimJUmy infant; florem, flor. The examples of 
thb methodical contraction, which M. Raynoaard has collected, ace to be found 
hi abundance long before the year lOOO ; and as this first modification of thf 
Latin is at the same time the most natural and methodical, he concludes not 
only that the Romance language of the Troubadours is of a date anterior to idj 
tbe others, but that it was common, in its origin, to all the mrtionl which aban- 
doned the use of the Latin, and that it was not until long afterwards that it uras 
split into various dialects. He supposes too, that aU the other langaages of 
the South were formed immediately from this. 


the vanqoiBhed people. The terms apon which they liFed, were 
those of contempt on the one side and hatred ou the other. There 
was no confidence or trast between- them. Equally ignorant of 
every principle of general grammar, they never thought of 
studying the language of their enemies ; but . accustomed them- 
selyes, merely, to the mutual jargon in which they sought to 
carry on an intercourse. Thus, we still see individuals trans- 
ported into a foreign country, forming with those, with whom it is 
necessary to communicate, a sort of conventional dialect, which is 
neither their own language nor that of the natives, yet which is 
comprehended by both, and prevents each from becoming ac- 
quainted with the language of the other. Among the slaves of 
Africa and Constantinople, there are Christians, from every part 
of Europe, mingled with the Moors, who have neither taught the 
latter their language| nor have themselves acquired the Moorish. 
They communicate 'with them in a rude language, called the 
Lingua Francay which is composed of the most useful European 
words, despoiled of the terminations which mark the tenses and the 
cases, and thrown together without any syntax. Thus, also in 
the colonies of Amerfca, the planters make themselves intelligible 
to the Negroes by using the Creole language, which is nothing 
more than the French, adapted to the capacity of a barbarous 
people, by depriving it of every thing which gives it its precision, 
force, and pliancy. The want of ideas, the consequence of 
universal ignorance, left no temptation to augment the number of 
words of which this'jai^n was composed, and the absence of 
communication between village and village deprived it of all uni- 
formity. The continual revolutions which led new nations of 
barbarians to usurp the place of the former intruders, and which 
substituted the new dialects of Germany for those with which the 
people of the South bad begun to be familiar, did not suier the 
langaage to acquire any degree of stability. In short, this un- 
formed dialect, which varied with each province and each colony, 
which changed from year to year, and in which the only rule 
were imposed by chance or by the caprice of a barbarian people, 
was never used as a written language» even by the small number 
of those who were acquainted with the art of writing. It was 
disdained, as the language of ignorance and barbarism, by all who 
had the power of polishing it; and the gift of speech, which was 
granted to man for t!ie purpose of extending and enlightening his 
ideas by communication, multiplied the barriers which before ex- 
isted between them, and was only a source of confusion. 

During the five centuries which preceded and prepared the 
way for the rise of the modern languages, it was impossible for 
EarOpe to possess any literature. Among thdse barbarous 
nations, the number of individuals who possessed the talent of 
reading or writing was small, and indeed the very thaterials for 
writing were wanting. Parchment was enormously dear ; the 
Egyptian papyrus, after the victories of the Arabians, had ceased 
Vol. I. 3 


to be imported ioto Europe ; and paper wës DOt yet inve&teJ, or 
had not been introduced by commerce into the W«Bt. To tradi- 
tion alone was committed Ibe préservation of paat eveolB ; and in 
order to engrHve tbem on the memory, a metrical form yraa 
naturally given tbem. Such, perhapi, «as the origin of versifi- ' 
cation. Poetry was, at uni, nothing more than a mode of assist- 
ing the memory. Bat, among the nntions of the South, the lan- 
guage which had recently been formed, was confined within eery 
narrow limita. It was too variable to be intrusted with any thing, 
which tvas intended to reach another gcneratian. It lufBced, at * 
the utmost, for the purpose of giving and receiving orders, and 
for (he rude communication between the conqueror and the con- 
quered. But as soon as it was desirable to make themselves in- 
telligible at a diaiant period ur in another country, the nations en-i 
deavoured to express themselves in the Latin, which, however, 
they could not effect without difficulty. All the rude chronicles, 
in which passing events were, at distant intervals, registered, 
were written in Latin. All contracts of marriage, or of purchase, 
lending, or exchange, were in (he same tongue, or rather in that 
barbarous jargon which the notaries supposed to be Latin, bnt 
iBlii/>h nrn* in fort na far Temoved from the spokeo as from the 
The excessive price of parchment for their 
id them to cover the margins of ancient books 
contracts, and they often erased the most 
eece or Rome, for the purpose of substitO' 
eement, or some legendary absurdity, 
nauce nations, however, and more especially 
bere appeared at distant periods during these 
judicious historians, whose style possesses 
, imd who have given animated pictures of 
btle pLiloBophers, who astonish us rather by 
ipeculalioDS than by the jiiatice of their rea- 
1 tfaeologiiDH, and some poeta. The names 
r Alcuin, of Liulprand, and of Egiobard, are 
respected. They alt, however, wrote in 
I of them, by the strength of their intellect, 
istances-fn which (hey were placed, learned 
Buty of the models which aatiquity had lefl 
id the spirit of a former age, as they had 
In them, we do not find the representatives 
ies. It is impossible to recognise, in (heir 
hicb they lived ; i( only betrays the relative 
rith which they imitated the langage and the 
ige. They do not belong to modern litera- 
S last Rionumen(s of civilized antiquity ; the 
which, after a long period of d^eneracy, 

and ballads of every country, which are the 
if theif own age, and belong not to antiquity^ 


«re the most curious specîmens we possess of oational compositions. 
Some of these songs which have been preserved by chance, are 
well worthy of observation, much less for their poetical merit, 
than for the light which they throw on the strange destruction of 
national language. They are all of them written in barbarous 
Latin, and none of them have been discovered in those dialects, 
which were soon afterwards destined to assume the rank of new 
languages. Those dialects were scarcely intelligible from town 
to town^ and the poet, for the sake of popularity, had recourse to 
a language which W98 generally though imperfectly known, in 
preference to that vulgar tongue which would scarcely have been 
understood beyond the next village. It is not singular tliat the 
hymns of the Church should have been composed at this period in 
Latin, for that was the language of religion ; nor that the learned 
should frame their poems in the same tongue, for it was the lan- 
guage of study ; but, that that the songs of the soldiers should have 
been composed in Latin shows the impossibility at that time of em- 
ploying any other medium. 

One of these songs was composed in Italy in 871, by the soldiers 
of the Emperor Lou|s if. to excite a mutual emulation among 
them to rescue him from his captivity. That monarch, who had 
been engaged, in the south of Itsdy, in a war against the Saracens, 
had become a greater burden to his ally, Adelgizo, Duke of Bene- 
yento, than even the enemies whom he had •come to repeL Adel- 
■gizo, no longer able to endure the exactions and insolence of the 
army which he.had received within his walls, took the rash resolu- 
tion of arresting the Emperor in his palace, on the 25th June, 87 1 . 
He was kept in captivity for nearly three months, when the im- 
perial soldiers, who were scattered throughout all Italy, animating 
themselves to vengeance by the song which I am about to trans- 
cribe, advanced towards the duchy of Beneyento, which in- 
duced Adelgizo to set his prisoner'at liberty. ^ This poem is writ- 
ten in long lines of fifteen or sixteen syllables, without any appa- 
rent regard to quantity, but with a cassura in the middle. The 
sense terminates at tbe end of every three lines. It is composed 
in a barbarous Latin, in which may foe found examples of every 
grammatical error. A tranâlation is subjoined : 

^^' Listen, all ye boundaries of the earth ! listen with horror and 

* The following is the text of this barbarous poem, of which I am not sure 
that I have always discovered the right sense': 

Audita omnes fines terre orrore cum tristitia. 
Quale scelus fuit factum Benevento civitas, 
Lhuduicum comprenderunt, sancto pio Augusto. 

Beneventani se adunarunt ad unum Consilium, ^ 

Adalferio loquebatur etdicebant Principi: 
Si nos eum vivum dimittemus, certe nos peribimus. 

Celus magnum preparavit in btam proviotiam, 

Regnum nostrum nobis tollit, nos habet pro nihilumj 
Plures mala nobis fecit, rectum est ut moriad. 


sadoèss, to the crime which has beeo committed Id the city of Be* 
nevento. Louis, the holy, the pious Augustus, has been seized* 
The Beueveutines were assembled in council, Adalferio spoke» and 
they said to the prince, 'If we dismiss him alive, we shall assuredly 
perish. He has planned a cruel design against this province ; he 
has deprived us of our kingdom ; he holds us cheap ; he has heaped 
many evils upon us ; it is just that he should die.' They have 
led this holy saint from his palace ; Adalferio has led him to his 
judgment seat ; but he rejoices as a saint in his martyrdom. Sado 
and Saducto have departed, invoking the rights of the Empire. 
And now the holy saint himself speaks : * You have come against 
me with swords and with clubs, as though I were a robber. The 
time was, when I brought you relief, but now you have taken coun- 
sel against me, and yet I know not wherefore you would slay me. 
I came hither to destroy a cruel generation ; 1 came to worship 
in the church of God, and to avenge the blood which has been 
shed upon the earth.' The Tempter has dared to place apoD his 
head the Imperial Crown, and he has said to the people, * Behold, 
we are the Emperor, and we will rule jrou,' and he rejoiced in 
the work he had done. But the Demon torments himi and has 
cast him to the earth, and the people have gone forth to behold 
the miracle. Our great master Jesus Christ, has pronounced judg- 
ment. A crowd of Pagans have invaded Calabria, they have ar- 
rived at Salerno, they have possessed the city ; but we have 
sworn by the holy relics of God to defend this kingdom, and to con- 
quer another." 

Another military song has been preserved, later than the ibrmer 
by nearly a century. ' It was composed about the year 924, to be 

Deposnerunt sancto pio de suo palatio ; 

Adalferio ilium ducebat usque ad Pretorium, 
lUe vero gaude Tuum tanquam ad martyrium. 

Exierunt Sado et Saducto, invocabant imperio ; 
Et ipse sancte plus incipiebat dicere ; 
Tanquam ad latronem Tonistis cum gladiis et fustibus. 

Fuit jam namque tempus tos allevavit in omnibus. 
Modo vero surrexistis advenus me consilium, 
Nescio pro quid causam Yultis me occidere. 

Generacio crudelis veni interficere, 

Edesie que Sanctis Dei venio diligere, 

Sanguine Tcni Tindicare quod super terram fusus est. 

Kalidus Ule temtator, ratum adque nomine 

Coronam Imperii sibi in cap.ut ponent et dicebat Populo 
£cee sumus Imperator, possum Tobis regere» 

Leto animo babebat de illo quo fecerat ; 

A demonio vezatur, ad terram ceciderat, 
Exierunt multse turms videre mirabilia. 

Magnus Dominus Jesus Christusjudicayit judicium ! 
Multa gens paganorum exit in Calabria, 
Super Salerno perrenerunt, possidere ciritas. 

Juratum est ad Sancte Dei reliquie 

Ipse regnum defendendum, et alium requirere. 


sung by the Modenese soldiers as Uiey gaarded their waUs agaiiist 
the Huogarians, The Latin is more gramniatieal, and the lan- 
guage altogether more correct, than that of the former, it ap- 
pears to have been the production of a man conrersant with anti- 
quity ; and yet it approaches more nearly to the style of modem 
poetry, which was then near its birth. The lines, which consist 
of twelve syllables, are aneqoally divided by a csesnra after the fifth. 
They are aU rhymed ; or rather, as in Spanish poetry, the rhyme 
only exists in the terminating yowel,. and is continned throoghoat 
the whole piece* 

* <* O thou Î who with thine arms guardest these walls, sleep 
not, I warn thee, but watch. As long as Hector watched in Troy, 
the crafty Greeks could not capture it ; but when she sunk into 
her first slumbers, the treacherous Sinon opened the perfidious 
gates, and the hidden bands, gUding down the ropes, seized on the 
city and burnt Pergama. The watchful voice of the white goose 
pot to flight the Gauls who attacked the Roman Capitol ; where- 
fore» for that deed, a silver bird was fashioned, and adored as a 

* The text isa« IMtowi.— 

tu oui sema armii ista mcenia 
Noli dormire, moneo, sed vigila ! 
Dam Hector Tigil extitit in Troia 
Non earn eepit frtudalenta Gneeia. 
Prima quiete donniMte Troia 
Laxavit Sinon fallax claustra perfida : 
Per funem lapaa occuitata agmina 
Infadunt urbem et incendnnt Pergama. 
ViglU voce avis anser Candida 
FagaTÎt Gallofl ez aree Eomalea, 
Pro qua Tirtute facta eat argentea. 
Et a Romanis adorata ut Dea. 
Not adoremus celsa Ghristi namina, 
Illi canora damns nostra jubila ; 
lUias magna flsi sub eustodla 
H»c TigilanteB jabilemns carmina. 
DiTina mundi Rex Ghriste cnstodia. 
Sub tua serra bec castra Tigilia, 
Tu munis tuis sis inexpugnabilis. 
Sis inimîcis bostîs tu terribilis ; 
Te in^^ante nuUa nocet fortia. 
Qui cuncta fugas procul arma beUica. • 
Cinge bec nostra tu Gbriste munimina 
Befendens ea tua forti lancea. 
Sancta Maria mater Cbristi splendidà, 
Hsc cum Jobanne Tbeotocos impetra, 
Quorum bic sancta veneramur pignora, 
Et quibus ista sunt sacrata mœnia. 
Quo duce Tîctrix est in beUo dextera 
Et sine ipso nibil valent jacula. 
Partis juventtts, Tirtus audax bellica» 
Vestra per muros audiantur carmina : 
Et sit in armis alterna rigilia. 
Ne flrans bostilis bec in?adat mœnia ; 
Resultet eebo comes : ^a vigila. 
Per muros eja ! dicat ecbo Tigila ! 



divinity by the Romans. Let us adore the Godhead of Christ, let 
us sing for him oar songs of jahilee. Relying on his powerfol 
gnard, let as watch and sing oar songs of jubilee. O Christ, king 
of the world, take into thy powerful keeping these camps in which 
we i?Btch. Be thou our impregnable rampart, be thou the ter- 
rible enemy of our enemies. No force can hurt us while thou 
keepest guard, for thou puttfst to flight the armies of the warlike. 
Do thou, O Christ, gird in our walls, do thou defend them with 
thy powerful lance. And thou, Maria, holy and bright mother of 
Christ, do thou beseech hi» assistance for us, with John, whose 
holy relics we here worship, and to whom these walls are dedi- 
cated. Under his condact, our right hand shall be victorious in 
war,' and without him our javelins avail not. Valiant youth! bold 
glory of war 1 let your songi< be heard along the walls : and in our 
alternate vigils, lest hostile treachery should invade our walls. 
Echo, our comrade, shall repeat our shout, ' Ho ! watch !' and 
Echo along the walls shall cry * Watch V " 

These popular songs are not altogether destitute of eloquence, 
nor a certain sort of poetry. They possess much more life and 
animation than many of the poems, which the scholars of those 
times attempted to compose in imitation of the ancients. Literature, 
however, must be at a low ebb in a nation, when it is necessary^ 
even in its popular songs, to make use of a foreign language* 

Bat at this very time, and in the heart of these verv nations, 
another clnss of poetry was to be found^the poetry o{ the con- 
querors. The people of the North, who possessed a language of 
their own, which they were confident would continue to exist 
beyond their own times, and who looked forward to the respect 
which their posterity would pay to their memory, had yet tradi- 
tions among them, if they could not boast of a written poetry. 
The most important dogmas of their faith, and the most brilliant 
events of their history, supplied them with materials for their 
songs, which were preserved by oral traditions. These poems 
kept alive that love of glory, that enthusiastic admiration of great 
actions, that vivacity of imagination, and that belief in the mar- 
vellous, which inspired the whole nation with poetical feelings, 
imposed upon the heroic the duty of seeking adventures, and 
'sowed the seeds of that chivalrous spirit, which was developed 
at a later period. We meet, in history, traces of these songs, 
which the northern nations carried with them, as though they 
were a part of their inheritance, into the conquered countries. 
The victors, however, speedily forgot among their vassals, the 
language of their fathers, which was not preserved by any regular 
system of instruction. In two or three generations, these patriotic 
songs, being forgotten in the South, were only preserved among 
the Northern nations. Charlemagne, ^ho was tenacious of the 
glory of his family, on the representation of Eginhard, caused 
these songs, which shed so much glory on the memory of his ances- 
tors, to be collected. Louis le Débonnaire^ his son, endeavoured, 


OD tlie other hand, to cooBign tbem to obliyion. The Germai», 
io oar time, have discovered an epic poem of the 6rst clasf , the 
composition of which they date as far back as the 6r8t conquest 
of the Roman empire by the Barbarians — the Lay of the Nibt^lun- 
gen. The scene is laid at the court of AUila, the king of the 
Huns, about the year 430 or 440. The subject is the destruction 
of the race of the Burgundians, who served in the army of that 
monarch, and were sacrificed to the vengeance of one of his 
wives. This woman, herself a Burgnndian, drew down this 
calamity upon her nation, in order to avenge the murder of her 
first husband, who had been put to death, a considerable time 
before, by his brothers* Among the other heroes who figure in 
this epic, we find Dietrich von Bern, or Theodoçic the Great, 
the founder of the kingdom of the Ostrogoths in Italy ; Siegfried, 
or Sigefroi, who appears to have been one of the ancestors of the 
French monarchs of the first race ; a Margrave Ruddiger, the 
ancestor of the first house of Austria ; and, in short, the heads 
of all the conquering dynasties which overturned the Roman 
empire. The events of this poem are historical, and are related 
with so much troth, and with such knowledge of the manners 
which prevailed at the court of Attila, that the poem could not 
have been written at a period very distant from these transactions. 
The Lay of the Nibelongen has probably existed since the age 
which immediately followed that of Attila ; perhaps it was one of 
those compositions which owe their preservation to Charlemagne. 
Unfortunately, we do not possess it in its antique and original form» 
Retouched» at difierent periods, io order to make it conform to 
the variations in the language, and to gratify by interpolations the 
pride of new families, it assumed its present shape only about the 
end of the twelfth or the beginning of the thirteenth century* 
We shall again refer to this poem» when we treat of the literature 
of Germany. 

. It is not easy to assign the exact period, when the German Ian*- 
guage was abandoned by the conquerors in the south of Europe. 
In all probability, it was still preserved at the courts of the sove- 
reigns, and in the assemblies of the nations^ long after the feuda* 
tories, who had retired to their castles and were compelled to 
hold a communication with the peasantry, had relinquished the 
use of it. Thus the names of the Lombard kings, in tbe seventh 
and eighth centuries, and even of the Dukes of Benevento, in the 
ninth, indicate a, knowledge of tbe German language, which at all 
events, was kept alive at court, whilst all the laws and acts, even 
of these monarchs, were written in Latin, and the vulgar language 
of the people was already a romance dialect The laws of the 
Tisigoths in Spain, and tbe mixture of German words with the 
Latin text, afford room for tbe same remark. Charlemagne and 
all his court spoke German, whilst tbe Romance was, vexy gene- 
rally, the dialect of the people throughout all the south of France. 
Nothing can give a more correct idea of the mode in which a new 


langaage is thus formed, by a barbarous nation who inherit the 
fnstitntions of a civilized people, than the process which we see, 
at the present day, taking place at St. Domingo. There, the 
French is what the Latin was in Europe till the eighth centnry ; 
the African languages are the Teutonic dialects ; and the Creole 
is the Romance. If, in future times, the Creole should become 
a polished language, abounding in orators and poets, its history 
in these times will present the same obscurity and^he same con- 
tradictions which perplex us with regard to the origin of the Ro- 
mance. We see, in like manner, in St. Domingo, the Jaloff, the 
Mandingo, and the other African languages, abandoned by the con- 
querors, whose mother-tongues they are, the Creole universally 
employed without being written, and the French reserved for 
the acts of government, its proclamations, and its joumsds. 

It is thus that barbarian invasions, the misery of the people, 
slavery, civil wars, and all the evils which can afflict society, had 
destroyed the Latin language and corrupted the German. The 
most lertile lands, after the massacre of their inhabitants, had be- 
come the retreats of wolves and wild-boars ; the rivers had over- 
flowed their banks, and converted the plains into marshes ; the 
forests, spreading from the mountains, had covered the face of the 
country ; à few wandering inhabitants, of different races, travers- 
ing these vast deserts, fearing and flying from one another, and 
only meeting in combat, could not preserve any common language. 
But when the barbarians, as their dominion acquired stability, 
began to regard as their country the territories which they had 
conquered, and when they defended their frontiers and cultivated 
the soil, order was at length restored, and population followed in 
its train. A few generations filled the immense void which ty- 
ranny, war, famine, and pestilence had created. The dawn of 
more prosperous days appeared in the reign of Charlemagne and 
his successors. These nappy prospects, it is true, were disturbed 
by new barbarian invasions of Normans, Saracens, and Hungarians ; 
but, notwithstanding their devastations, the inhabitants of these 
countries continued to acquire fresh strength. They rallied in 
their own defence; they enclosed their towns, their hamlets, and 
their castles, with walls ; they promised one another mutual suc- 
cour ; and their intercourse, becoming frequent, induced them to 
polish their language. At this time, in the tenth century, it is 
probable that the languages, which are now spread over the south 
of Europe, had their origin. During the period which preceded 
the event, we only recognise two mother-tongues, and the rude 
progeny which arose from the admixture. As soon as the dialects 
were separated, they assumed a regular form, even before the 
languages from which they were derived. Every district, every 
town, almost every village, had a dialect peculiar to itself, which 
the inhabitants endeavoured to speak with purity, and to preserve 
without mixture. In the countries in which these dialects pre- 
vailed, their peculiarities are still strongly marked. The Lorn- 

tards of Milan da nat speak the same dialect as the Lombards of 
Pam or Lodi, as an experieoced ear will immediately discoyer. 
Evan io Tuscany, where the laogoage is so pure, the dialects of Flo- 
rence, of Piea, of Sieooa, sipH of Luçc^i are easily distinguishable. 
Jn Spain, independently of the Catalan and the Gallician, which 
are difierent languages, there is a clear dUtinction bet^reen the 
languages of Aragoo and Ca^tile, and between the latter and that 
^ Andalusia. In those countries which have disliugoished their 
dialect by the name of the Romaoce, the same differences were 
ibrmerJy yery discernible between the patoii of Sayo> and of 
Switzerland ; but this language hayiog been abandoned for the 
French by the well-educated classes, the lower orders, by the 
frequent communication between the two .countriesi haye con- 
£>unded the dialects which haye thus lost their primitive and local 

In former times, that spirit of aggregation and association, wbich 
is the consequence of long weakness and of the urgent necessity 
of uniting for the purpose of residting aggression, was the means 
of retaining eyery family within their oatiy.e town or yillage, cmd 
fevery individual within his own fidnily. The countrymen during the 
âay» went araied to their £elds, and at night fortified themselyee in 
Ibeir hamlets. Tliey ayoided all communication, eyen by speech, 
with the neighbouring districts ; the inhabitanls of which .they re- 
gànded as enemies. They neyer united themselves in marriage wiUi 
tiiem» and they considered all <rayelling among them as dangerous. 
In fact, since the alightest priirate injury might giye rise to a state 
of warfere» it was an imprudent step, in any one, to connect him- 
self, by ties of relationship, or property, with his neighbours, 
who might at any moment become his enemiesi and render him 
the sudden yictim of an unexpected quarrel, in which he had no 
personal share. Thus thosie races were renewed by constant in- 
termarriages among themselves, and sometimes for several gene- 
rations. Whilst the inhabitants of a village were, perhaps, origi- 
nally descended from Romans, Greek:;, Etruscans, Goths, Lom- 
bards, Hongariaftf, Scli!iyo.nian8,and Alavns,the individuals, thus as- 
aembledfroBi the very extr-emities of the earth, were so well amal- 
gamated by the process of ttine into one family, that they regard- 
ed as strangers all who were born a few miles from themselyes ; 
and differed from all the other inhabitantfl of the country in opi- 
nions, manners, costuipe, and language. This spirit of associa- 
tion has, doubtless, contributed to produce the curious phenome- 
non, which is observable on the frontiers of the two countries, 
where the mother tongues ivere spoken. The transition from the 
German to the Romance is as abrupt, as if the two nations had 
been separated by hundreds of miles. The inhabitants of one 
village do not understand their neighbours ; and there are some, 
like Fribourg and Morat in Switzerland, where the two races, 
haying accidentally been reunited, have yet never mingled toge- 
ther. They have lived for ages in the same town, without the 

Vol. I. 4 


^ne ever passing into the qusffter occupied by the other, an^ 
without the power of making themselves mutually intelligible. 

Some of the towns, nevertheless, and some of the 'pro<- 
vinces, protected by a^more ^rm and just goverumcnt, suc- 
ceeded, before the rest, in enlarging the boundaries of what was 
consideied, b^ their inhabitants, as their country. They forgot 
their local interests in those of the state, and they abandoned the 
dialect of their hamlets for the more extended lanirUHge of the 
whole community. In this manner arose the first polished lan- 
guages of Europe. The reign of Bozon, the founder of the king- 
dom of Aries, may, perhaps, be considered as indicating this happy 
epoch in the Provençal, which thus advanced before the other 
languages of Europe. The dukes of Normandy, the successors 
of Rollo, in the tenth and twelfth centuries, appear to have fa- 
voured the birth of the French or Romance- Walton. The reigo 
of ("erdinand the Great, and the exploits of the Oid, in the eleventh 
century, by exciting natii nal enthusiasm, formed in the same 
manner, a rallying point for the Castilian language, and emerged 
the dialects of the villages in the language of the court and the 
army. Henry, the founder of the Portuguese monarchy, and his 
son Alfonso, towards the end of the eleventh century, produced 
the same benefits in Portugal l^y their rapid conquests. The 
birth of the Italian may be referred to a later date, although the 
way hail been prepared for it by the wise and beneficent adminis- 
tration of the dukes of Benevento. It was only at the Sicilian 
court, in the twelflt*i century, that this language, which was pre- 
viously merely a rude dialect, was subjected to the rules of 

* In referring the birth of each language to the reign in whieh eaeh nadon. 
appears to have attained a stable character, the Romance languages will stand 
|i| the foUo^dng order : 

The Provençal, at the court of Bozon, king of Aries 877 887 

The Langue D'Oil, or D'Oui, or the RiDmance-Wallon or 
French, at that of William Loogue-Epee, the son of JRoUo 
doke of Normandy ." .,.. 917 943 

The Castilian, in the reign of Ferdinand the Great 1037 1065 

t The Portuguese, under Henry the founder of the monarchy. • 1095 1112 

The Italian, under Roger I. King of Sicily 1129 1164 

[27 J 


On the Literature of the Arabiuii. 

Tbb Western world had tiQw audIe into barbarism» and popnla* 
tion and riches had disappeared. The inhabitants, who were 
thinly scattered orer those vast countries, found fall occnpadon 
in straggling against the perpetual recurrence of evils, the invii- 
sion of barbarians^ civil wars, and feudal tyranny. With difficulty 
did they preserve their lives, ever menaced* by famine or the 
sword ; and, in this constant State of violence or fear, there was 
little leisure left for int^llectual enjoyments. It was impossible 
that 'eloquence should exist, deprived of its proper objects. 
Poetry was unknown, acid philosophy was proscribed as a rebellion 
against religion. Even their very language was destroyed. Bar- 
barous and provincial dialects had usurped the place of that 
beautiful Latin language, which had so long connected the nations 
iof the West, and t^hicb had preserved to th^ni so many treasures 
0f thought and taste. But, at this very period, a new nation, 
which, by its conquests a6d its fanaticism, had contributed' more 
than any other to abolish the cultivation of science and literature, 
having at length established its empire, in its turn devoted itself to 
letteriSi Masters of a great portion of the East; of the country 
ûf thé Magi add the Chaldeans, whence the first light of knowledge 
bad shown over the world ; of the fertile Egypt, the storehouse 
of human science i of Asia Minor, that smiling land, where poetry 
and ta^te and the fine arts had their birth ; and of the burning 
plains of Africa, the country of Impetuous eloquence and subtle 
intellect ; the At'abians seemed to unite in themselves the advan- 
tages of all the nations which they had thus subjugated. Their 
succeas in arms had been sufficient to satiate even, the most un- 
méàsored ambition. The East and Africa, from their respective 
éxtr€iinities, had yielded to the empire of the Caliphs $ innumera- 
ble treasures had been the fruit of their conquesiti^ ; and the Ara* 
bians, before that time a rude and uncultivated nation, now began 
to indulge in the usb9t unbounded luxury. With the conquest of 
those happy couhtriesi over which pleasure had so long held 
sway, the spirit of voluptuousness was naturally introduced among 
them. With all the delights which human industry, quickened 
by boundless riches, can procure, with all that can flatter the 
senses, and attach the heart to life, the Arabians attempted to min- 
gle the pleasures of the intellect, the cultivation of the arts and 
sciences, and all that is most excellent in human knowledge-^the 
gratifications of the mind, and the imagination, in this new career, 
their conquests were not less rapid than they had been in the 
field, nor was the empire which they founded less extended. 

28 ON THÉ LttEftÂTÙàE ' 

With a celerity equally surprising, it rose to as gigantic a heights 
It rested, however, on a foundation no less insecure, and it was 
quite as transitory in its duration. 

The flight of 5lahomet from Mecca to Medina, which is styled 
the Hegira, corresponds With the year 622 of our œra ; and the 
pretended burning of the fibrary of Aleiandria by Aiorou, the 
general of the Caliph Omar, with the year 641. This is the 
period of the deepest barbarism among the Saracens ; and this 
event, doubtful as it is, has left a nielanoholy proof of tkeir con- 
tempt for letters.' A century had scarcely elaps€Kl from the period 
to which this b'arbarianr outrage ia referred^ when the family of 
the AbassideSf who mounted the throne of "the Caliphs in 760, ior 
troduced a passionate love of art, of science, and of poetry. In 
the literature of Greece, nearly eight centuries of progressive 
cultivation, succeeding the Trojan war, (from 1209 B.C. to 431) 
had prepared the way for the age of Pericles. In that of Rome» 
the age of Augustus was» also, in the eighth century s^er the foun- 
dation of the city. In French literature, the age of Louis XI V. 
was twelve centuries subsequent to Clovis, and eight, after the 
developement of the first rudiments of the Romance langQage,or 
French. But in the rapid progress of the Arabian empire, the 
age of Al-Mamoun, the father of letters and the Aogustu» of Bag* 
dad, was not removed more than one hundred and fifty years firom 
the first foundation of the monarchy. 

All the literature of the Arabians bears the marks of this rapîé 
progression ; and that of modern Europe, which was formed kt 
their school and enriched by them, occasionally displays the vet» 
tiges of too hasty a développement» and of that excitation of 
spirit which misled the imagination and the taste of the eastern 
nations. . 

I propose, in this place, to present a general sketch of Arabian 
literature, in order to give an idea of its spirit, and of the influeneê 
which it has exercised over the nations of Europe ; and» at tilie 
same time, to enable the feader to comprehend, in what manner 
that Oriental style, which was borrowed by the Spaniards and the 
Provencals, spread itself over the other Romance languages. If 
we could penetrate deeper into Arabic literature, if we could un- 
veil those brilliant fictions which have made Asia a fairy-land, and 
could taste the charms of that inspired poetrjr, which, in expressing 
every impetuous passion, employed the boldest yet the most in- 
genious figures, and communicated an emotion to the soul, of 
which our timid poets can form no conception, we should dis- 
cover, in studies ao novel and so différent from those we have 
been accustomed to pursue, an aibple recompense for any defect! 
which might ofifend our more fastidious taste. But we can only 
flatter ourselves with the hope of impressing on the minds of 
others the beauties of a foreign language, in the same proportion 
as we are ourselves sensible of t^m. It is necessary to feel 
emotion in order to inspire it, and to be convinced of the truth of 


our owD opinioni, before we can demaiid the confidence of others. 
I amoot acquainted with the Arabic» nor, indeed, with any of the 
languages of the East ; and, on the present occasion, 1 shall con- 
fine ikiyself to the selection of extracts from transUtions. 

Ali^ the foorth. Gstiph from Mahomet, was the first who extend- 
ed way protection to letters. His rival and successor, Moawihah, 
the first of 4he Ommlades (661 — 680,) was still more favourably 
disposed towards them. He assembled at his court all who were 
Bkoet distinguished by scientific acquirements ; he surrounded 
himself with poets ; and as he had subjected to his dominion many 
of the Grecian isles and provinces, the sciences of Greece first 
began, under him, to obtain an influence over the Arabians. 

After the eitioction of the dynasty of the Ommiades, that of 
the Abassides bestowed a still more powerful patronago on let- 
ters. Al-ManjKor, or Mansoor, the second of these princes (764 
-^776) invited to bis court a Greek physician, who^e name was 
Geoi^e Backtischwah, and who was th« first to present to the 
Arabians translations of the learned medical works of the Greeks. 
Backtischwah, or Bocht Jeso, was descended from those perse- 
cuted Christiana of the Greek empire, who had been compelled, 
5y their attachment to the dogmas of the Nestorians, to seek for 
safely and tranquillity among the Persians, and who had there 
founded in the province of Goodisapor, a school of medicine, 
which was already celebrated in the seventh century. Nestorius> 
patriarch of Constantinople from 429 to 431, and who maintained 
too strenuously, in opposition to the orthodoi faith, the tepara« 
fion €t{ the two persons as well as of the two natures of Christ, 
had manifested a persecuting spirit, of which he was hioMelf soon 
afteri^ards the victim. Thousands of Nestorians, his disciples, 
had perished by the steel or the fagot, after the Councils of 
Ephesua and Chalcedon ; and they, in their turn, massacred about 
the year 500, in Persia, seven or eight thousand of their ortho* 
dox or monophysitic adyersaries. After these first reprisals, 
however, they devoted themselves to the pursuits of science with 
«Bore ardour, and at the same time with more charity, than the 
members of the other Christian churches ; and they preserved, 
in the Syriac language, the literature of Greece, which was 
abolished by superstition in the empire of the East. From their 
School, at Goodisapor, issued a crowd of learned Nestorians and 
Jews, who, obtaining reputation by their medical knowledge, 
transported to the East all the rich inheritance of Grecian litera- 

The celebrated Haroun^al-Raschid, who reigned from 786 to 
809, Inquired a glorious name by the protection i? hich he afibrd- 
ed to letters. The historian Elmacln assures us, that he never 
undertook a journey withotrt carrying with him at least a hun- 
dred men of science in his train. The Arabians are indebted to 
him for the rapid progress which they made in science and iitera« 
ture ; for Haroun never built a mosque without attaching to it a 



school. His successors followed his example, aod» in a shore 
period, the sciences which were coltivated in the capital, spread 
themselves to the very extremities of the empire of the Caliphs. 
Whenever the faithful assembled to adore the Di?ioity, they 
found in his temple an opportunity of rendering^him the noblest 
homage which his creatures cap pay, by the cultivation of those 
faculties with which their Creator has endowed them. Uaroun* . 
al-Raschidy besides, was sufficiently superior to the fanaticism 
which had previously animated his sert, not to despise the know- 
ledge which the professors of another faith possessed. The 
head of his schools, and the first director of the studies in his 
empire, was a Nestorian Christian of Damascus, of the name of 
John Ebu M-essua* 

But the true protector and father of Arabic literature was Al- 
Mamoun (Mahomed-Aben-Amer,) the seventh Caliph of the^ 
race of the Abassides, and the suu of Harouu-nl-kKaschid. Even 
in his father's lifetime, and during his journey to Khorasan, hé 
had chosen for bis companions the mojst <telebrated meaof science ' 
among the Greeks» the Persians, and thé Chaldeans. . Havin|^ suc- 
ceeded to the throne (813—833) he rendered Bagdad the centre 
of literature. Study, books, and men of letters, almost entirely ef^ 
grossed his attention. The learned were his favourite^ ; and his 
ministers were occupied alone in forwardmg the pros^ress of lite- 
rature. It might be said, that the throne of the Caliph» seemed 
to ha?e been raised for the Muses. He invited to his court, from 
all parts of the world, all the learned with whose existence he 
was acquainted ; and he retamed theoi by rewards, honours, and 
distinctions of every kind. He colkcted from the subject-pro- 
vinces of Syria, Armenia, and Egypt, the jmost important books 
which could be discovered, and which in his eyes were the most 
precious tribute he could demand. The goternors of provinces, 
and the officers of administration, were directed to aptais,' in pre- 
ference, to every thing else, the literary relics of the conquered 
cotmtries, and to carry them to the foot of the throne. Hundreds 
of camels might be seen entering Bagdad, loaded with nothing but 
manuscripts and papers; and those which were thought to be 
adapted for the purposes of public instruction, were translated 
into Arabic, that they might be universally intelligible. Masters» 
instructors, translators, and commentators, formed the court of 
Al-Mamoun, which appeared rather to be a learned academy» 
than the centre of govemment in a warlike empire* When this 
Caliph dictated the terms of peace to the Greek emperor, Michael 
the Stammerer, the tribute which he demanded from him Was a 
collection of Greek authors. Science, in a peculiar manner, ex- 
perienced the favour of the Caliph, notwithstanding the distrust- 
ful jealousy of some fanatical Muss.dmen, who accused Al^Ma^ 
moun of shaking the foundations of Islamism. Speculative phi- 
losophy was allowed to indulge in the investigation of the most 
abstruse questions. The art of medicine boasted, under his em- 


^ire, of some of her most celebrated professors. He had been 
iiisfracted by the famous Kossa in the science of the law, wbkh, 
in the eyes of the Massnlmen, was, of all the branches of humaD * 
knowiedge, the most sacred, and that to which they abandoned 
themselves with the Qtmo-<t degree of ardoar. The Caliph him- 
self was much attached to the ntudy of mathematics, which he had 
pnniued with success. He conceived the grand design 
of measuring the earth, which was acpomptiMhed by his mathema- 
ticians at his own expense. The Elements of Astronomy by 
A^tragan (Fargani,) and the Astronomical Tables of Al-Merwasi, 
were the productions of two of his courtiers. Not less generous , 
than enlightened, Al-Mamoun, when he pardoned t>ne of his rela- 
tions who had revolted against him and attempted to usurp the 
throne, exclaimed, '* If it «vere known what pleasure 1 experience 
in granting pardon, all who have offended against me would come 
and confess their crimes." 

The progress of the nation in science was proportioned to the 
zeal of (he sovereign. In all parts, in every town, schools, acade- 
mies, and colleger, were established, from all of which many 
learned men proceeded. Bagdad was the capital of letters, as well 
as of the Caliphs ; but Bassora and Cufa almost equalled that city 
in réputation, and in the number of valuable treatises and celebrated 
poeiiis which they pro<iur;ed. Baikh, Ispahan, and 'Samarcand, 
were equally the homes of science. The same enthusiasm had 
beeti carried, by the Arabian(«, beyond the frontiers of Asia. Ben- 
jamin Tudela, the Jew, relates in his Itinerary, that he found in 
Alexandria more than twenty schools for the propagation of phi- 
losophy. Cairo also contained a great number of colleges, and 
that of Betzuaila, in the suburbs of that capital, was so substan^ 
tiaUy built, that, during a rebellion, it served as a citadel for the 
army. In the towns of Fez and Morocco, likewise, the most mag- 
nificent buildings were appropriated to the purposes of instruction» 
and these establishments were governed by the wisest and most 
beneficent regulations. The rich libraries of Fez and Larace pre- 
served to Europe a number of precious volumes, which had been 
lost in other places. But Spain was, more especially, the seat of 
Arabian learning. It was there that it shone with superior bright- 
ness, and made its most rapid progress. Cordova, Grenada, Se- 
ville, and all the cities of the Peninsula, rivalled one another in 
the magnificence of their schools, their colleges, their academies, 
and their libraries. The academy of Grenada was under the di- 
rection of Schamseddin of Murcia, so celebrated among the Ara- 
l»ians. Metuahel-al- Allah, who reigned in Grenada in the twelfth 
century, possessed a magnificent library ; and there are still pre- 
served, in the Escurial, a great number of the manuscripts which 
were translated for his use. Alhaken, founder of the academy of 
Cordova, presented six hundred volumes to the library of that 
town. In various cities of Spain, seventy Ubraries were opened 



for the ioBtmction of die pqblic, at Ibt period, wben all the feat 
of Europe, witboot boo|^t| without learoiogi aad witboat ciilti?a* 
tio9« was plQDged in the |D09t di^gracefal ^ooraoiBe. The Duiaber 
oif Arabic aathors» vhich Spaio produced, net io prodigious, tbvt 
man J Arabiao bibliograpberB wrote learned treatises on ttie authors 
boro io ptirticular towns, as Seville» Valeiia4, or Cordova, or on 
those smoDg the Spapiards, who de?ote<f themselves to a siagle 
braach of siudj, as philosophy, ivedicioe, osathematics, aad loore 
especially, poetry. Thus, throughout the v^st eateat of the Arabian 
empire to the three quarters of the globe, ihe progress q( letteia 
had followed that ofarois, aod literature^jMr five or «ia centuries, 
from the uioth to the foiirteeuth or fifteeoth, preserved aU it| 

One of the first canes of the Arabians, at the restoration of let- 
ters, would naturally be to carry to perfection the vehicle of 
thought and imagination ; and, in point of faet, the cultiyatioa of 
their language had been among the most important Uboors of the 
learned. They were divided into two rival sdioob, that of Cufii 
and that of Bassora, from both of which a number of distioguished 
men proceeded, who have analysed, with the greatest subtlety, sfl 
the rules of the Arabic language. 

The study of rhetoric was united to that of grammar ; and, as 
it always happens iki the literature of evfry country, the preoepts 
of elegant composition succeeded the models. The l^oraa was 
not written in pursuance of the rules of the rhetoriciaos. A coo* 
fiision of ideas, produced by too.elevated an enthusi^m, and an 
obscurity and contradiction^ which were the consequences of the 
turbulent life and diversified designs of the author, destroyed the 
unity and even lee intereat of that volume. The chapters, more* 
over, were preposteroiialy distributed^ not according to theic 4«ba 
or conaeaion with one another, but according to Iheir length, com- 
mencing with the longest and finishing wit^ ihe vb^rtest ; and thus 
a work. In which the ideas might well have t>eeo less gigantic and 
«itravaganti became often evenimore unmtelligible by itssii^nlar 
arrangement. Notwithstanding all this, there is scarcely a volusne 
in the Ai^bic language which contains passages, breathing a «nom 
sublime poetry or a more enchaining eloquence. In like asttwera 
the first harangues which were addressed to the people and the 
armies, to inspire them with the new fiiith and with a zeal ii»r 
combat, undoubtedly possessed more true eloquence, than all that 
were afterwards composed in the schools €ff the most famous Ara- 
bic rhetonciana. The latter, notwithstanding, translated with 
eagerness the most celebrated works of the Greeks on the art of 
rhetoric. These they adapted to their own language, though ita 
genius was so dissimilar ; and thus they created a peii^ art, wbiphi 
was illustrated by more than one Arabic QuintiUap. 

After the age of Blahomet and his immediate auccessorsi p^^ular 
eloquence was no longer cultivated among the Arabians. Eastern 
despotism having supplanted the liberty of the Desert, the heads 


oflbe state and the army regarded it at beoeatk tfaem to haraDgue 
the people or the soldiera. They no longer relied «|k>d their 
coansei or their zeal ; they only csdled upon them for their oba* 
dience. But if political eloquence was of no long duration amoog 
the Arabians, they were, on the other hand, the infentors c^tbet 
species of rhetoric which is the most culti?ated at the present day. 
ïhey exercised themselves» alternately, in the eloquence of the 
academy and the pulpit. Their philosophers, to enthoiiaatic in 
the b^£rfof the beauty of their language, took the oppoituntty of 
displaying, in these learned assemblies, aU the measnred harmony 
of which it was susceptible. In this pursuit, Maiek was consi- 
dered as their most fascinating orator, while Schoraïph was thought 
to unite, more skilfully than any other, the bt illiaacy of peetry 
with the vigour of prose, and Al-Harisi was elevated to the maam 
rank with Demosthenes and Cicero. Mahomet, moreover, had 
ordained that his faith should be preached in the Mos^oesi and 
the oacne of orator, khateb^ was specially appropriated, by OMloaii, 
to these sacred orators, and that of an harangue, khùthak^ to their 
sermons. Many of these are preserved in the Escorial, and fte 
style of them is very similar to that of the Christiaii orators. The 
preachers commenced by offering up thanks ; a profession of Aith, 
and prayers for the sovereign and the prosperity of the kingdom, 
fldlowed. Then the orator entered upon his text, and opened his 
snl^ect ; and, strengthening himself with the authority of the Koran 
and the doctors, he attempted to excite, in the hearts of the peo- 
ple, a love for virtue and a detestation of vice. 

Poetry, still more than eloquence, was the favourite occupation 
of the Arabians, from their origin as a nation. It is said tiiat 
this people alone has produced more poets than all others united. 
AiTabic poetry took its rise even before the art of writing had be* 
come general, and, from remote antiquity, a number of poets had 
annually celebrated their academical games in the city of Ocadh. 
These festivals, Mahomet suppressed as a relic of idolatry. Seven 
of the most famous of these ancient poets have been celebrated 
by the Oriental writers under the title of the Arabian Çleiades ; 
and their works Were suspended around the Caaba, or Temple of 
Mecca. Mahomet himself cultivated poetry, as well as Ali, Am- 
roa, and some others of the most distinguished of his first com- 
panions ; but after him, tl^e Arabian Muses seem to have been si- 
lent until the reign of the Abassides. It was under Haroun-al-* 
Rasciiid, and his successor Al-Mamouo, and more especially un«- 
der the Ommiades of Spain, that Arabic poetry arrived at its high- 
eat pitch of splendour. It is at this period tliât we find that com- 
pany of poets, chivalrous lovers, and royal princesses, whom the 
Oriental writers compare to Anacreon, to Pindar, and to Sappho. 
Their names, which I have vainly attempted to impress upon my 
memory, since 1 am unacquainted with their works, would also 
probably escape the greater part of my readers. The greatest 
celebrity to be attaiued in these languages, so distant from its and 
Vol. I- 5 


SO dtôerept in their character and orthography, is of such a fagt* 
tive nature, that 1 have heen unable to find in D'Herbelot, the 
names of those authors whom Andres places in the first rank ; as> 
for instance, Al-Monotabbi of Cufa, whom he falls the prince of 
poets. I sl^all not attempt, therefore, to class them according to 
their merit, since I am not suflficiently* versed in those studies even 
to adopt the opinions of others. I shall prefer presenting, in this 
place, two fragments translated from other versions of the Arabic 
and Persian, and I shall accompany them with some general re- 
jections on Asiatic poetry. 

The first of the seven poems suspended in the Temple of 
Mecca, was an idyll, or casside^ of Amralkeisi. The composition 
and plan of this ancient specimen of Arabian poetry may give some 
idea of what was afterwards accomplished. 

The hero conducts two of his friends to the place where his 
harem was formerly situated, but which is now deserted, and there 
bewails the departure of his mistresses. As he recognises their 
traces, he sighs in despair, and rejects all the consolations which 
his friends offer him. ** You have," say they, '*on other occa- 
sions, experienced afflictions not less distressing than thiSr^' ^^ I 
have," replies he ; *<but then the perfames, which waited on the 
steps of my mistresses, still delighted my heart and intoxicated 
my senses. My eyes, indeed, then were filled with tears, but 
they were the tears of passionate love ; they flowed down my 
cheek» and my bosom, and with them my breast-plate was bedew- 
ed." " At least," •his friends rejoin, ** let the memory of your 
past happiness -sooth your present griefs. Reflect how often 
they have given new charms to life." The hero, solaced by these 
recollections, recalls all the happy hours he had passed, and the 
delights he had proyed in the company of Oneiza and of Fatima» 
the fairest among the fair. He boasts of having loved a virgin of 
unequalled beauty : ** Her neck," says he, *< resembled that of the 
gazelle, when it raises it to descry a distant object. She was 
adorned with brilliant necklaces. Her long locks floated over her 
shoulders. : black vvere they as ebony, and clustering as the undu- 
lating branches of the palm. Slender and flexible as a thread was 
her figure, and her countenance illumined the shades of night, like 
the lamp of the lonely sage, who pursues his studious vi^L 
Her very garments reflected the azure of the skies, and their firinges 
of precious stones were like the Pleiades, when they appear above 
the horizon*" He adds^ that, to obtain her, he had pierced 
through hostile lances, and braved the most frightful dangers. 
He then praises his own courage, and the constancy with which 
he had traversed, by night, daçk and savage valleys ; and at the 
same time he takes an opportunity of passing an eulogy upon his 
horse, which he describes in a strain of the most brilliant poetry. 
He then presents a picture of a chase, and afterwards of a festival f 
and the poem is terminated by an admirable description of the 
showers which refresh the burning desert. 


In order, also, to give the reader some idea of the Pertiaa» I 
«hall trapslate a fr;^;ment of the Schah-Namah of Ferdazi, from a 
Latin yersioD by Frederick Wilken. The lines of this poem are 
rhymed in couplets, like oqr heroic verse. The hero speaks, 
and expresses bis love for the daugbter of Afrasiab : — 
. *^ Behold I how tbe fields glitter with the red and the yellow 
rays ! What noble heart of man would net beat with joy ? How beao- 
tifol are the stars ! How sweetly does the water marmur ! is not this 
the garden of an emperor's palace ? The colours of the earth are 
varied, like the tapestry of the kings of Ormuz ; the air is per- 
fumed with musk ; and the waters of the brooks, are not they the 
essence of roses? This jasmine, bending under the weight of its 
flowers, this thicket of roses, shedding their perfume, seem like 
the Divinities of the garden. The pheasant majestically advances, 
proud of its beautiful plumage, whilst the turtledove and thenight*- 
ii^le tremblingly descend upon the lower branches of the cy- 
press. As far as tbe eye can stretch along the stream, a paradise 
blooms around. The plains and the hills, are they not covered 
with yoiing girls, more beautiful than the angels? Wherever 
Menischeh, the daughter of Afrasiab, appears, we find men happy. 
It is she who makes the garden as brilliant as the son ; the daughter 
of an august monarch, is she not a new star ? It is she who has 
shed her riches and her /splendour over this valley ^ she is the 
brilliant star that rises over the rose and the jasmine. Peerless 
beauty i Her features are veiled, but the elegance of her figure 
rivals the cypress. Her breath spreads the perfume of amber 
around her ; upon her cheeks reposes the rose. How languish- 
ing are her eyes ! Her lips have stolen their colour from the 
finest wines, but their odour is like the essence of roses. 
Thanks be to God that we have been enabled to reach this bless- 
ed|>lace, and that our journey was but of a day's length !" 

After introducing these two fragments, which are certainly 
Tery inconsiderable, when presented as specimens of a literature 
as rich as that of all Europe, I shall only add, on the authority of 
Sir William Jones, that the Orientals, and especially the 
Arabians, possess many heroic poems, composed A>r the purpose 
of celebrating the praises of distinguished men, or of animating 
the courage of their soldiers. They do not, however^ boast of any 
epics, although Sir William has given that title to the history of 
Timour, or Tamerlane, written in a poetical kind of prose by 
Ebn Arabschah. With more reason, it should seem, he has 
placed, in the rank of epic poems, the work of the Persian poet 
Ferduzi, called tbe Schah-Namah, of which I have just given a 
short specimen. This poem consists of sixty thousand couplets, 
on all the heroes and kings of Persia. The first half, which can 
alone be considered as possessing an epic character, describes 
the ancient wa'f between Afrasiab, king of Transoxian Tartary^ 



and Calkfaofrn, who is known to ns under the name of Cyrus. 
The hero of the poem is Rnstetn, the Hercules of Persia.* 

With the exception of this single work, the poetry of thé liMt 
is entirely lyric oroJidactic. The Arabians have heen ine^dMrtret'* 
ible in their lotre-poems, their elegies on the death of their he- 
roes, or of their beauties, their moral verses, among which 
their fables may be reckoned, their eulogistic, their aatiricaf , 
their descriptive, and, above all, their didactic poems, which em-^ 
brace even the most abstruse science, as grammar, rhetoric, and 
arithmetic. But, among all their poems, the catalogue of which, 
in the Escurial alone, consists of twenty-four volumes, there is 
not a single epic, comedy, or tragedy. 

In these different branches of poetry, thç Orientals di8j»l«»ved 
a surprising subtlely, and great refinement of thought. I heir 
style of expression is graceful and elegant, their sentiments are 
noble, and, if we may credit the Oriental scholars, there previa, 
in the original language, a harmony in the verses, a propriety in 
the expression, and a grace throughout, which are necessari^p 
lost in a translation. But it cannot escape us that the fkme of 
these lyric compositions rests, in some degree, on their bold 
metaphors, their extravagant allegories, and their excessive 
hyperboles, it may justly be asserted that the greatest charac- 
teristic of Oriental taste is an abuse of ^'the imagination and of the 
intellect. The Arabs despised the poetry of the Greeks, which 
to them appeared timid, cold, and constrained ; and, among all 
the books, which, with almost a superstitious veneration, they 
borrowed from that people, there is scarcely a single poem. 
None of those relics of classical genius were adjudged worthy of 
a translation ; and neither Homer nor Sophocles, nor even 
Pindar,* was allowed to enter into a comparison with their own 
poets. The object of the Arabians was always to make a bril- 
liant use of the boldest and most gigantic images. They sought 
to astonish the reader by the abruptness of their expressions ; 
and they burdened their compositions with riches, under the 
idea tiiat nothing which was beautiful conld be superfluous. 
They were not contented with one comparison, but heaped them 
one upon another, not to assist the reader in catching their ideas, 
but to excite his admiration of their colouring. They neglected 
natural sentiment, and made an exhibition of art ; and the more 
the omanàents of art were multiplied, the more admirable in their 
eyes did their work appear. On this account, they were per- 
petuiAly seeking for difficulties to vanquish, though these added 
neither to the developement of the idea, nor to the harmony of 
the verse. 
To those nations who possessed a classical poetry, the imita- 

* * Ferduzi, the author of the Schah-Namah, died in the year of the Hegtra 
4U, or A. D. 1019. 

OF Tme âftâBiAHs. 8T 

lion ùf nature b«d rfiscoTierecl tlie use of the «pic and the dninay 
in whiefa die poet endeaTonrs to eipresi the true langnage of the 
hniitaii heart. The people of the East ne^er nifide this attempt. 
Their poetry is enttrelj Ijric. It ooght, indeed, to bear a cha-^ 
racter of inapiration, to justify it in riaing so far shove the comnon 
language of nature. Under whatever name it be known, and to 
whatever rolea it has t>een subjected, it will always be found to be 
the language of the passions. 

The poetry of the Arabians is rhymed like our own, and the 
rhyming is often carried stilt farther in the construction of the 
verse, while the unilbrmity of the sound is frequently echoed 
throughout the whole expression. Their lyrical poetry is, 
mof^fkfef, subjected to pertirular rules, either in the form of the 
strophe, or in the order of the rhymes, or in the length of the 
poems. They extend to the whole sentence that poetical bar- 
moov which already prevailed in each distinct expression or in- 
diviaual verse. Two kinds of versification were in the most 
general use among the Arabians and the Persians, the gkatelt and 
Ûïe €ctB9%de. Both these are compositions in ooupletsy and the 
second lines of each couplet rhyme with one anottier throughout 
the whole poem. The first lines are not rhymed. Thus, in 
that species of versification which the Spaniards htew^ called 
^sonant, and which they have apparently borrowed from the 
Arabians, the same rhyme, or rather the same terminating voweli 
is repeated in every other line for several pages, whilst the fir^t 
lines of each couplet are not rhymed. The ca$$idê is an amatory 
or warlike idyll, the length of which varies firom twenty to a hun- 
dred couplets. The gkazèlt is an amatory ode, which cannot 
comprise less than seven nor more than thirteen couplets. The 
first may be correctly classed with the canzoni of Petrweh, the 
latter with his sonnets ; and as Petrarch composed a catizontere, or 
collection of «on^ant and sonnets on different subjects, and as the 
ether Provençal. Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese poets had their 
c€meanierif the principal merit of which was the union of a 
variety of images with a single sentiment, and of many harmo- 
nious changes with only a single measure ; so the Aralnans and 
the Persians had their .divans, which are collections of ghazéies^ 
varying in the termination or the rhyme. A perfect divan, in 
their eyes, was that in which the poet had regularly pursued in 
his rhymes all the letters of the alphabet, for they had a taste fsr 
constraint without harmony ; a tas^te which we can trace through- 
out sdl the Romance poetry, and among all the nations who 
have been formed in their school. 

But, if the Eastern nations possess not the epic or the drama, 
{hey have been, on the other hand, the inventors of a style of 
poetry which is related to the epic, and which supplies, among 
them, the place of the drama. We owe to them those tales of 
which the concepâon is so brilliant, and the imagination so rich 
and varied ; tales, which have been the delight of ourinfancy, and 



wbich at a more advanced age we never read withont feeling their 
enchantments anew. Every one is acquainted with the Arabian 
Nights* Entertainments, bat if we may believe the French trans- - 
later, we da not possess the six-and-thirtieth part of the great 
Arabian collection. This prodigioas collection is not confined 
merely to books, bat forms the treasure of a nameroas class of 
men and women, who throughont the whole extent of the Ma- 
hommedan dominion, in Turkey, Persia, and even to the extremity 
of India, find a livelihood in reciting these tales to crowds who de- 
light to forget, in the {^easing dreams of imagination, the .melan- 
choly feelings of the present moment. In the cofTee-hooses of the 
Levant, one of these men will gather a silent crowd around him. 
Sometimes he will excite terror or pity, but he more frequently 
pictures to his audience those brilliant and fantastic visions which 
are the patrimony of eastern imaginations. He will even occa- 
sionally provoke laughter, and the severe brows of the fierce 
Mnssulmen will only unbend upon an occasion like this. This 
is the only exhibition of the kind in all the Levant, where these 
recitations' supply the place of our dramatic representations. 
The public squares abound with these storytellers, who fill up the 
heavy hours of the seraglio. The physicians frequently recom- 
mend them to their patients, in order to sooth pain, U^ . calm 
agitation, or to produce sleep after long watchfolness ; and these 
storytellers, accustomed to sickness^ modulate their voices, soften 
> their tones, and gently suspend them, as sleep steals over the 

The imagination of the Arabs, which shines in all its brilliancy 
in these tales, is easily distinguished from the imagination of the 
chivalric nations, though it is easy to perceive a certain resem- 
blance between them. The supernatural world is the same in 
both, but the moral world is different. The Arabian tales, like the 
romances of chivalry, convey us into the fairy-realms, but the hu« 
man personages which they introduce, are very dissimilar. These 
tales had their birth, after the Arabians, yielding the empire of the 
sword to the Tartars, the Turks, and the Persians, had devoted 
themselves to commerce, literature, and the arts« We recognise, 
in them, the style of a mercantile people, as we do that of a war- 
like nation, in the romances of chivalry. Riches and artificial lux- 
'uries dispute the palm with tl^e splendid gifts of the fairies. The 
heroes unceasingly traverse distant realms, and the interests of 
merchandise excite their active curiosity, as much as the love of 
renown awakened the spirit of the ancient knights. Besides the 
female characters, we find in these tales only four distinct classes 
of persons — princes, merchants, moûks or calendars, and slaves. 
Soldiers are scarcely ever introduced «pon the stage. Valour and 
military achievements, in these tales, as in the records of the East^ 
inspire terror and produce the most desolating effects, but excite 
no enthusiasm. There is, on this account, in the Arabian taleç, 
something less noble and heroic than we usually expect in compo- 


sitioQS of this nature. Bot, on the other hand, we matt consider 
that these stor jtellen are our masters in the art of prcidncing, sas- 
taining, and unceasingly varying the interest of this kind of fiction ; 
that they are the creators of that brilliant mythology of fairies and 
genii, which eitends the bounds of the world, multiplies the riches 
and the strength of human nature, and which, without striking as 
with terror, carries us. into the realms of marvels and of prodigies. 
It is from them that we have derived that intoxication of love, that 
tenderness and delicacy of sentiment, and that reverential awe of 
women, by turns slaves and divinities, which have operated so 
poverfuHy on our chivalrous feelings. We trace their effects 
in all the literature of the South, which owes to this caose its men- 
tal character. Many of these tales had found their way into our 
poetical literature long before the translation of the ** Arabian 
Nights." Some of them are to be met with in our old Fabliaux, in 
Boccacio, and in Ariosto, and these very tales which have charmed 
our infancy, passing from tongue to tongue, and from nation to na- 
tion, through channels frequently unknown, are now familiar to 
the memory, and form the delight of the imagination, of half the 
inhabitants of the globe. 

But the influence which the Arabians exercised over the litera- 
ture of Europe, must not be measured merely by the admiration 
which their poetry excited. The rapid progress which they made 
in the sciences, gave them an universal authority over the king- 
dom of the mind ; and those whom the learned of Europe regarded 
as their masters in the sciences of arithmetic, natural philosophy, 
history, and geography, appealed equally worthy to be the infalli- 
ble oracles of taste. In reference, therefore, to European litera- 
ture, it is important to inquire what was the state of science among 
the Arabians, at the period when our ancestors made their first 
attempts to emerge from a state of barbarism. 

Every branch of history was cultivated with lively interest by 
the Arabians» Several authors, among whom the most cele- 
brated was Aboul-Feda, prince of Hamah, wrote a universal His- 
tory, from the begijMiing of thé world to their own days. Every 
state, every province, every city possessed its individual chroni- 
cler and historian. Many, in imitation of Plutarch» composed 
the lives of great men, who had been distinguished by their vir- 
tues, their achievements, or their talents. There was, indeed, 
among the Arabians, such a passion for every species of compo- 
sition, and such a desire to leave no subject untouched, that Ben- 
Zaid of Cordova, and Aboul-Monder of Valencia, wrote a serious 
history of celebrated horses ; as did Alasueco, of camels which 
had risen to distinction. Historical dictionaries were invented by 
the Arabians, and Abdel-Maleck accomplished for the nations 
which spoke his language, what Moreri has done for the Euro- 
peans* They possessed, besides, geographical dictionaries of 
great accuracy, and others on critical and bibliographical sub- 
jects. In short, all thoi^e inventions which curtail labour, dis- 


pense with the neceflsity ef research, and afford facilities to kUe^' 
ness» were known to the Amhians. The knowledge of coins was 
familiar to them, and Al-Namari wrote the historj of Arabian 
money. Each art and each science had it6 history» of which the 
Arabians possessed a more complete collection than any other 
nation, either ancient or modern. Al-Assaker wrote commente- 
ries on the first inventors of the arts. Al-Gazel, in his learned 
work on Arabian antiqaities, treated, in a profound manner, of the 
studies and indentions of his countrymen* Medicine and pfailose* 
phy had even a greater number of historians than the other 
sciences ; andall these different works were embodied in the histo- 
rical dictionary of sciences, compiled by. Mohammad* Aba- Abdallah 

Philosophy was passionately cultivated by the Acabiaae^ and 
upon it was founded the feme of many ingenious and sagacioua 
men, whose names are still revered in Europe. Averrbees of 
Cordova, was the great commentator on the works of Aristotle» 
and died in 1198. Avicemia, from the neighbourhood of Cbyraz, 
who died in 1037, was a profound philosopher as well as a cele- 
brated physician. Al-Farabi of Farab, in Tramsoxiana, died in 
950. He spoke seventy languages, wrote upon all the sciencéà^» 
and collected them into an encyclopaedia. Al-Gazek of Thons, 
who submitted religion to the test of philosophy, died in 1111. 
The learned Arabians did not confine themselves to the studies 
which they could only prosecute in their closets. They under- 
took, for the advancement of science, the most perilous and pain» 
fol journeys ; they became the counsellors of princes, and they 
were often involved in the revolutions which, in the East, ave so 
violent and generally so cruel. Their private life was thus more 
varied, more chequered with accidents, and more romantic» than 
that of the philosophers and learned of any other nation.. 

Of all the sciences cultivated by the Arabians, philosophy was 
that which penetrated most rapidly into the West, and which had 
the greatest influence in the schools of Europe ; and yet it was 
the one, the progress of which was, in fact, the least reaL The 
Arabians, more ' ingenious than profound, attached themselves 
rather to the subtleties than to the connexion of ideas. Their ob^ 
ject was more to dazzle than to instruct. Their obscurity gave 
them, in the eyes of the vulgar, an air of profiindity. Th^ ex* 
haiosted their imaginations, in search of mysteries ; they enve- 
loped science in clouds, instead of penetrating into its real natere, 
aikl dissipating the obscurity produced by the grandeur of the sab* 
ject or the weakness of the human inteUect ; an obscurity which 
is not the offiipring of philosophy, but the obstacle over which 
it is the aim of philosophy to triumph. More enthusiastic than 
enlerpriaing, they were wittug rather to consider man as the 
oracle of all human knowledge, than to seek for it in the prima- 
ry sources of nature. Aristotle was worshipped by them as a 
sort of divinity. In their opmion, all philosophy was to be found 


in his writiDgs, and thej explained every metaphysical question 
àeeorjiing to the scholastic rules. 

An accurate translation and a 6ul))tle commentary on the work 

of the Stagyrite, appeared to them the highest pitch to which the 

genius of a philosopher could attain. With this object they read, 

they explained, and they compared all the commentaries of the 

fint dnciples of Aristotle. It is aingular, however, that such 

able men, with long study, with so much assistance, and after 

the industrious application of so many years, never succeeded in 

comprehending and explaining, with clearness, the authors who 

were the subject of their labours. They were all of them in 

error, and sometimes grossly so. Averrhoes, in his translations 

and commentaries, has often no sort of connexion with his ori« 

ginal. The mania of discovering mysteries in the most simple 

things, and hidden meanings in the clearest phrases, would have 

rendered the school of Aristotle, among the Arabians, if he 

could have appeared once more upon earth, quite unintelligible 

even to the philosopher himself. 

The natural sciences were cultivated byibe Arabians net only 
With more ardour, but with ajuster view of the means it was ne« 
cessary to pursue, Id order to master them. Abou'*Ryan-al-Bjrou- 
ny, who died in the year 941, travelled forty years for the pur- 
pose of studying mineralogy; and his treatise, on the knowledge 
of precious stones, is a rich collection of facts and observations. 
Ibn or Aben-aUBeïthar of Malaga, who devoted himself with the 
same eagerness to the study of botany, travelled over all the moun^ 
tains and plains of Europe, in search of plants. He afterwards 
traversed the burning sands of Africa, for the purpose of collect- 
ing and describing such vegetables as can support the fervid heat 
of that climate ; and he subsequently passed into the most remote 
countries of Asia. In tb0 three portions of the globe then known, 
he observed with his owo eyes every thing strange and rarci 
which the three kingdoms of nature presented to him, ~ Animals, 
vegetables, and fossils, all underwent his inspection ; and he re- * 
turned àt last to his own country, loaded with the spoils of the 
East and the South. He published successively three volumes, one 
on the virtues of plants, another on stones and metals, and the third 
on animals, which contained more true science than any naturalist 
had hitherto displayed. He died in 1248 at Damascus, whither 
he bad returned, and where he was made superintendent of the 
gardens to the prince. In addition to these, there were others, 
among the Arsdbians, who merited the gratitude of posterity, 
such as Al-RasI, Ali-Ben-al-Abbas, and Avicenna. Chemistry^ 
of which the Arabians were, in some sort, the inventors, gave 
them a better acquaintance with nature than the Greeks or the 
Romans* ever possessed ; and this science was applied by them 
most usefully and exclusively to all the necessary arts of life. 
Above all, agrkultore was studied by them with that ^ perfect 
knowledge of the climate, the soil, and the growth of plants anil 
Vot. I, 6 



animals, which can alone reduce long experience into a sciencer^ 
No nation of Europe, Asia, or Africa, either ancient or modern^ 
has possessed a code of rural laws more wise, just, and perfect, 
than that of the Arabians of Spain ; nor has any nation ever been 
elevated by the wisdom of its laws, the intelligence, activity, and 
industry of its inhabitants, to a higher pitch of agricultural pros- 
perity than Moorish Spain, and more especially the kingdom of 
Grenada. Nor were the arts cultivated with less success, or 
less enriched by the progress of natural philosophy. A great 
number of the inventions which, at the present day, add to the 
comforts of life, and without which, literature could never have 
flourished, are due to the Arabians. Thus, paper, now so neces- 
sary to the progress of the intellect, the want of which plunged 
Europe, from the seventh to the tenth centiiry, into such a state 
of ignorance and barbarism, is an Arabic invention. In China, 
indeed, from all antiquity, it had been manufactured from silk ; 
but about the year 30 of the Uegira, A. D. 649, this invention 
was introduced at Samarcand ; and when that flourishing city was 
conquered by the Arabians, in the year 85 of the Hegira, an 
Arabian of the name of Joseph Amrou, carried the process by 
which paper was made, to Mecca, his native city. He employed 
cotton in the manufacture ; and the first paper, nearly re- 
sembling that which we now use, was made in the year 88 of the 
Hegira, A. D. 706. This invention spread with rapidity through- 
out all the dominions of the Arabians, and more especially m 
Spain, where the town of Sativa, in the kingdom of Valencia, now 
called San-Philippo, was renowned from the twelflh century for 
its beautiful manufactures of paper, it appears that, at this time, 
the Spaniards had substituted, in the fabrication of paper, flax, 
which grew abundantly with them, for cotton, which was macli 
more scarce and dear. It was not until the end of the thirteenth 
century that, at the instance of Alfonso X., king of Castile, paper- 
mills were - established in the Christian states of Spain, from 
whence the invention passed, in the fourteenth century only, to 
Trevisa and Padua. 

Gunpowder, the discovery of which is generally attributed to a 
German chemist, was known to the Arabians at least a century be- 
fore any traces of it appear in the European historians. In 
(he thirteenth century, it was frequently employed by the Moors 
in their wars in Spain, and some indications remain of its having 
been known in the eleventh century. The compass, also the in- 
vention of which has been given, alternately, to the Italians and 
the French in the thirteenth century, was already known to the 
Arabians in the eleventh. The Geographer of Nubia, who wrote 
in the twelfth century, speaks of it as an instrument universally 
employed. The numerals which we call Arabic, but which, per- 
haps ought rather to be called Indian, were', undoubtedly, at 
' least communicated to us by the Arabians. Without them, none of 
the sciences in which calculation is employed, could have been 
carried to the point at which they have arrived in our day, and 


Ifvhich the great mathematiciaDs and astronomers^ among the Ara- 
bians, very nearly approached. The number of Arabic inven- 
tions, of which we enjoy the benefit without sofipecting it, is pro- 
digious. But they have been introduced into Europe in every 
direction slowly and imperceptibly ; for those who imported them 
did not arrogate to themselves the fame of the invention, meeting, 
as they did in every country, people who, like themselves, had 
seen them practised in the East. It is peculiarly characteristic of 
all the pretended discoveries ff the middle ages, that when the 
historians mention them for the first time, they treat them as 
things in genera use. Neither gunpowder, nor the compass, nor 
the Arabic numerals, nor paper,. are any where spoken of as dis- 
coveries, and yet they must have wrought a total- change in wari 
in navigation, in science, and in education. It cannot be doubted 
but that the inventor, if he had lived at that time, would have had 
sufficient vanity to claim so important a discovery. Since that was 
not the case, it may reasonably be presumed that all these inventions 
were slowly imported by obscure individuals, and not by men of 
genius, and that they were brought from a country where they 
were already universally known. 

Such, then, was the brilliant light which literature and science 
X^i^layed from the ninth to the fourteenth century of our asra, in 
those vast countries which bad submitted to the'yoke of Islamism. 
Many melancholy reflections arise when we enumerate the long 
list of names which, though unknown, to us, were then so illus- 
trious, and of manuscripts buried in dusty libraries, which yet, 
in their time, exercised a powerful influence ever the human in- 
tellect. What remains of so much glory ? Not more than five or 
six individuals are in a situation to take advantage of the manu- 
script treasures which are enclosed in the library of the Escurial. 
A few hundreds of men only, dispersed throughout all Europe, 
have qaalified themselves, by obstinate application, to explore the 
rich mines of Oriental literature. These scholars with difiîcolty 
obtain a few rare and obscure manuscripts ; but they are unable 
to advance far enough to form a judgment of the whole scope of 
that literature, of which they- have so partial a knowled|ge. But 
the boundless regions where Islamism reigned and stiJi continues 
to reign, are now dead to the interests of science.' The rich 
countries of Fez and Morocco, illustrious, for five centuries, by 
the nnmber of their academies, their univerjsities, and their libra- 
ries, are now only deserts of burning sand, which the human ty- 
rant disputes with the beast of prey. The smiling and fertile 
shores of Mauritania, where commerce, arts, and agriculture at- 
tained their highest prosperity, are now the retreats of corsairs,. 
who spread horror over -the seas, and who only relax in their la- 
bouFâin shameful debaucheries, ^intil the plague periodically comes 
to select its victims from among them, and to avenge oflended hu- 
manity. Egypt has, by degrees, been swallowed up by the sands 
which formerly fertilized it. Syria and Palestine are desolated by 
the wandering Bedouins, less terrible still than the Pacha who o^ 



presses them. Bagdad» formerly the residence of luxury, of power, 
and of knowledge, is a heap of ruins. The celebrated universi- 
ties of Cufa and Bassora are extinct. Those of Samarcand and 
Balkb share in the destruction. In this immense extent of t«rri- 
tory, twice o^ thrice as large as Europe, nothing is found but ig- 
norance, slavery, terror, and death. Few men are capable of 
reading the works of their illustrious ancestors ; and of the few 
who could comprehend them, none are able to procure them. 
The prodigious literary riches of the Arabians, of which we 
have now given only a very cursory view, no longer exist 
in any of the countries where the ' Ârabi|ins and the Massal- 
men rule» It is not there that we must seek, either fbr the fame 
of their great men, or for their writings. What have been pre- 
served are ii> the hands of their enemies, in the convents of the 
monks, or in the royal libraries of Europe. And yet these vast 
countries have not been conquered. It is not the stranger who 
has despoiled them of their riches, who has annihilated their 
population, and destroyed their laws, their manners, and their na- 
tional spirit. The poison was their own ; it was administered by 
themselves, and the result has been their own destruction. 

Who may say that £urope itself, whither the empire of letters 
and of science has been transported ; which sheds so brilliant a 
light ; which forms so correct a judgment of the past, and which 
compares so well the successive reigns of the literature and man- 
ners of antiquity, shall not, in a few ages, become as wild and de- 
serted as the hills of Mauritania, the sands of Egypt, and the val- 
leys t>f Anatolia ? Who may say, that in some new land, perhaps in 
those lofty regions, whence the Oronoco and the river of the Ama- 
zons have their source, or perhaps in the impregnable mountain- 
fastnesses of New Holland, nations with other manners, other lan- 
guages, other thoughts, and, other religions, shall not arise, once 
more to renew the human race, and to studiy the past as we have 
studied it ; nations, who, hearing with astonishment of our exist- 
ence, that our knowledge was as extensive as their own, and 
that we^ like themselves, placed our trust in the stability of fame, 
shall pity our impotent efforts, and recall the names of NewtoDy 
e£ Racine, and of Tasso, as examples of the vain struggles of man 
to snatch that immortality of glory, which fate has refused te 

145 3 


BiKh «f thePMtvy «ad Lttgiu«e of Ftormm Iniinaw of tiM AhMm €• tl» 

«TmiiiM 9M tséte of tbo ^NMibodonv» 

Wbsv, in the teoth century, the natioot of the aoatb of Europe 
attenipted to give a cootistency to the rude didecti which hfld 
Ibeeo produced by the mixture of the Latin with the northern 
tongues, one of the new languages appeared to provail over the 
others. Sooner formed, more generally spread* and more rapidly 
cultivated than its rivals, it seemed to assoase the place of the 
forsaken Latin. Thousands of poets flourished, almost cpotem** 
poraneoosly, in this new language, who gave it a character of ori- 
ginaliiy which owes nothing to the Greeks or the Romans, or to 
what is called dasûcal literature. They spread their reputattoa 
from the extremity of Spain to that of Italy ; and they have 
served as models to all the poets who afteiwania succeeded them 
in other langui^^» even to those of the North, and» among these, 
to the Eo^ish and the German. Ail at once, however, this 
ephenieral reputation vanished. The voice of the Trouhadonrs 
was silent; the Provençal was abandoned, and, undergoii^ new ^ 
changes, again becaa^e a mere dialect, till after a brilliant exist- 
ence of three centuries, its productions were ranked among those 
of the dead languages. From this period, it received ni^addltions. 

The high reputation of the Provençal poets, and the rapid de- 
clineof th^ language, are two phenoaaena equally striking m the 
history of the câtivation of the huaMo mind. That literature, 
which has given models to other nations, yet,, ahiong its crowd of 
agreeable poems, has not produced a single masterpiece, a single 
work of geiàitts destined to immortality, is the more worthy of our 
attention, as it is entirely the offispring of the age, and not of in- 
dividuats. It reveals to tis the sentiments, the imagination, and 
the spirit of the modern nations, in their infancy.. It exhibits 
what was common to all and pervaded all, and not what genius, su- 
perior to the age, enabled a single individual to accom{rfish. Thus 
the return of the beautiful days of spring is announced to us, not 
by some single wonder of the gardens, in the production of which 
tiie artificial exertions of man have seconded the efforts of natnre, 
but by the brilliant flowers of the fields, and by the prodigality of 
the mteadows. 

It is, unfortunately, very difficult to obtain the Troubadour 
poets ; and, when obtained, to form a just idea of them. A 
learned Frenchman, M. de la Curnede St Palaye, has, it is true, 
devoted his whole life to collecting, explaioi^g, and commenting 
upon these works ; but bis immense collection, consisting of 
twenty-five folio volumes in manuscript, has not been, nor can be 


printed. He has left his writings in an anfinished and disordered 
state. The compositions of hundreds of poets are mingled to- 
gether, in each volume, and the labour of classing them, and of 
rendering them accessible, still remains to be undergone. Tne 
Royal Library of France contains vast treasures of Provençal ma- 
nuscripts ; but oir these it is still more difficult to make any use. 
It is necessary to examine the volumes, from one end to the other, 
in order to acquire a knowledge of their contents ; but the. diffi- 
culty of the old writing and the contractions render this a painful 
task, in a language so little known. These manuscripts moreover^ 
are only within the reach of a few individu^ds. Several works on the 
influence of the Troubadours in Europe, have, it is true, been an- 
nounced by literary men of celebrity ; but hitherto none have ap- 
peared, nor has the text of any of those poets been given to the 
public* We at present only find stattered abroad in works of 
different kinds, a few fragments^ which may convey a knowledge 
of the Provençal vert^ification, but which are not sufficient to fa- 
miliarize us with this language, so as to enable us to taste its beau- 
ties. We are oblis;ed to content ourselves, in treatin^^ of the 
Troubadours, with extracts from the Abbé Millot, who, taking the 
labours of St. Palaye as bis ground-work, has given us, in three 
volumes, the lives of the Provençal Poets, some notices of their 
works, and short translations of the most striking passages. But 
his style is, almost invariably, teriious and insipid. 

The works onlbe lives of the Troubadours are much more nu- 
merous than the collections of their poems ; and indeed, their 
lives, independently, of their verses, present a sufficiently inte- 
resting and novel idea of their age, if they were better entitled 
to our confidence. Unfortunately, they are written without any at- 
tention to the rules of criticism, without regard to truth, and with 
the design rather of striking the imagination by brilliant and ro- 
mantic adventures, than of adhering to facts, or keeping within the 
bounds of possibility. With respect to the biography of these 

*' Three years only, after the publication of the first edition of this work, 
M* Raynoaard published, in 1816, the first volume of his work, entitled Choiz 
des Poésies originales des Troubadours. He has thus begun to supply that 
blank with the existence of which, for so long a period, in their literature and 
their history, the French have been so justly reproached. But hitherto this 
volume, which only contains some inquiries into the formation of the Romance 
language and grammar, has not been followed by the collection of original 
poems, for which the public is so impatient. The second volume, it is said, 
will contain many specimens of the Romance language anterior to the year 
1000, which have been discovered by M. Raynouard. The third and fourth 
volumes will contain almost all that remains of the amatory, political, and sa- 
tirical poetry of the Troubadours. A publication like this can alone enable the 
literary world to form a judgment of this laoguaj^ and of its poets, which are at 
present rather matter of conjecture than of study. Ât the same time, the 
work must throw much light on the history and manners of ancient France. 

[Since the above note was written, the five succeeding voHimes of this va^ 
luable work have been published, — TV.] 


"po^U, there are two original collections made by the monks, still 
remaining in manuscript. One of these was compiled in the 
tirelfth century, by Carmentiere, a monk of the Isles of Hieres^ 
by the direction of Alphonso 11. King of Arragon and Count of Pro- 
vence ; the other by a Genoese of the family of Cibo, who is 
known by the name of Mange des Ut» d^Ovy or the Monk of the 
Isles of Gold ; and who, at the end of the fourteenth century, 
corrected and perfected the manuscript of Carmentiere, and dedi- 
cated it to the reigning Count of Provence, Louis 11. King of Na* 
pies, of the second house of Anjou. In 1675, John Nostradamus, 
Procurator of the Parliament ot Provence, published his Lives 
of the Provençal Poets : a work without the slightest pretensions 
to critical knowledge, yet, which, at the present day, forms the 
groundwork of their history. He was the father of the celebrated 
physician and astrologer, Michael Nostradamus, whose obscure 
Centuries have been so often applied to every great event, and uncle 
of Caesar Nostradamus, the author of a History of Provence, 
(foL 1614) where these lives have been inserted. The Italians, 
with fewer opportuoities than the French of becoming acquainted 
with the Troubadours, have displayed more zeal regarding them. 
Crescimbeni has devoted a whole volume to the lives of the Pro- 
vençal Poets, which he has selected from Nostradamus. All the 
Italian poets have mentioned them with res^pect, and all the literary 
historians of that country have recognised their powecfiil in- 
fluence. The Spaniards have paid them no Jess homage. San^ 
chez. Father Sarmiento, Andres, and the Marquis of Santillana, 
have illustrated their history, and shown the connesiob of the 
Provençal poetry with that of the Arabians, and of all the Ro- 
mance nations. 

In Italy, on the renewal of the language, each province and each 
petty district had a dialect of its own. This was owing to two 
causes : first, to the great number of barbarous nations with whom 
the Ronàans had been successively mingled by the frequent inva- 
sions of their territories ; and, secondly, to the great number 
of independent sovereignties which were established in that coun- 
try. |4^either of these causes operated upon the Gauls, at the 
time of the formation of the romance language. Three nations 
had settled themselves there, nearly at the same time, the 
Visigoths, the Burgundiaos^ and the Franks. After the conquest 
of the latter, none of the barbarous people of the North, wijth the 
exception , of the Normans, succeeded in effecting a permanent 
establishment in any of thé provinces; nor was there any 
mixture with the German nations, still less with the Sclavonians 
or the Scythians, to alter their language or their manners. The 
Gauls were thus employed for four centuries, in consolidating 
themselves into one empire and forming one language ; during 
which period, Italy was successively the prey of the Lombards, 
the Franks, the Hungarians, the Saracens, and the Germans. 
Thus the birth of the Romance language in Gaul, preceded that 

46 on TH£ IiITfi&ATUIlli: 

of the Italian. It was di?ided into two principal dialects ; the 
Romance-Provençaly spoken in ail the provinces in the south of 
Loire, which had been originally conquered by the Visigoths and 
Baignndians ; and the Romance- Wallon^ in the provinces to the 
north of the Loire, where the dominion of the Franks' preTaileci. 
The political divisions of the country were conformable to this 
primary distinction of nations àné of languages. Notwithstanding 
the independence of the great feudatories, the north of France 
had always formed a single political body. The inhabitants of the 
different provinces were united in the same national assemblies, 
and in the same armies* Southern France, on the other hand, 
after having been the inheritance of several of the successors of 
Charlemagne, was elevated in 879 to the rank of an independent 
kingdom, by Bozon, who was crowned at Mantes under the title 
of King of Aries, and who reduced under his dominion Provence» 
Dauphiny, Savoy, the Lyonoese, and some provmces of Burgundy. 
The sovereignty of this territory exchange, in 943, the title of 
King for that of Count, under Bozon li. ; but the kingdom of 
Provence was preserved entire, and continued in the house of 
Burgundy, of which Bozon I. was the founder. This noble 
house became extinct in 1092, in the person of Gilibert, who left 
only two daughters, between whom his possessions were divided. 
One of these, Faydide, married Alphonse, Count of Toulouse ; 
and the other, Douce, became the wiie of Raymond Berenger, 
Count of Barcelona. 

The union of Provence, during two hundred and thirteen years, 
under a line of princes, who, though they did not play any bril- 
liant part abroad, and are almost forgotten in history, never ex-- 
perienced any foreign invasion, but, by a paternal government, 
augmented the population and riches of the state, and favoured 
commercial pursuits, to which their maritime situation inclined 
them, consolidated the laws, the language, and the manners of 
Provence. It was at this period, that, without exciting observa* 
tion, the Romance- Provençal, in the kingdom of Aries, completely 
displaced the Latin. The latter was still employed m the acts of 
government ; but the former, which was universally spoken, soon 
began to be applied to the purposes of literature. 

The accession of Raymond Berenger, Count of Barcelona and 
husbtmd of Douce, to the thi'one of Provence, gave a new direc* 
tton to the national sprit, by the mixture of the Catalans with the 
Provencals, Of tàe three Romance languages, which thp Chris* 
tians of Spain at that time spoke, the Catalan, the Castillan, and 
thé Galicien or Portuguese, the first was almost entirely similar 
to the Provençal, and although, eventually, a decided discrepance 
appeared, iùôte especidUy i&the Kingd'^m of Valencia, it still re- 
tained an appeHation borrowed from the name of a French Pro- 
vince* The natives called it Uemosi or lAmounn. The 
Catalans, therefore, were perfectly intelligible to the Pro-^ 
vençals, and their union at the same court mutually refined 

iv f fis TiAouiADouAé. 4^ 

fhem. The former, it is tme, had already received ioniè 
coltiration, either, io conséquence of their wars and intercourse 
frith the Moors of Spaih, or of the commercial activity of 
the city of Barcelona. That city enjoyed very'ample privileges. 
The citizens placed a jnst estimation on the freedom they possess- 
ed, and at the same time caused it to be respected by their princes. 
Their riches, moreover, rendered the imposts ezceedin^y pro- 
ductive, and enabled the Counts to display a magnificence at their 
courts, unknown to other sovereigns» Raymond Berenger and his 
successors introduced into Provence the spirit both of liberty and 
chivalry, and a taste for elegance and the arts, with all the 
sciences of the Arabians. The union of these noble sentiments 
^ve birth to that poetical spirit which shone out, at once, over 
Provence and all the south of Europe, like an electric flash in thé 
midst of the most palpaMe darkness, illuminating all things by the 
brightness of its flame. 

At the same time with the Provençal poetry, chivalry had its 
rise. It was, in a manner, the soul of the new literature, and the 
character which is thus given to the latter, so different from any 
thing in antiquity, and so rich in poetical invention, is one of the 
most important matters of observation in the history of modem 
literature. We must not confound chivalry with the feudal sys- 
teoi. The feudal system may be called the real life of the period 
of which we af e treating, possessing its advantages and inconve* 
niencés, its virtues and its vices. Chivalry, on the contrary, is 
the ideal world, such as it eiisted in the imaginations of the Ro- 
maoce writers. Its essential character is devotion to woman and 
to honour. But the poetical* potions which then prevailed, as to 
the virtues which constituted the perfection of knights and ladies, 
were not entirely the fictions of the brain. They existed among 
the people, tho^ugh perhapls without being carried into action ; 
and when at last they acqifired greater stability by the heroic 
soDga in which they were inculcated, they began to assert a mdre 
practical influence over the people who had given them birth, and 
the realities of the feudal system became identified with the fie* 
tiona of chivalry. 

That bold and active life which distinguishes the feudal tlmèH 
was, no dotfbt, exceedingly attractive. Every lord, enjoying the 
moat complete independence, lived in his own castle, convinc%d 
that God was his only judge and master. His trust was in his own 
strength, which enabled him to brave oppression, and to ofier an 
asylum to the weak and thé unfortunate. He divided with his friends 
the only possessions of the value of which he was sensible, his 
arma and his horses, looking only to hi» own prowess for liberty, 
atkd gldry, and safety* But, at this period, the vices of the humaà 
character were developed with a force proportioned to the native 
yigoui' of the soul. Among the nobility, to whom alone the laws 
seemed to afibrd protection, absolute power had produced its 
UBdal effects, an infatuation which borders upon insanity, and a 
Vol. I. 7 


$0 <»l¥ tUB UnEÀïVB^ 

ferocity of which modem Urnes no longer afford exaaiples. "ïhe 
tyraooy of a l^iroD» it ia tme, exteodod not beyood a few lepgiiea 
around bis castle or his town ; and, this boundary once p«i8sed^ 
the fugitive was ifn safety. But within his dooiain» in which he 
confined his vassals like deer, he gave way, in the consciousoeaa 
of his omnipotence, to the most ridiculous caprices, and ponished 
those who displeased him, in the most terrific manner. His vas- 
sals, who trembled at bis presence, had forfeited all the privil^es 
of human nature ; and, in this class of society, there perhaps 
existed not for several centuries a single individual, who showed- 
any symptoms of greatness of squI or virtue» Franlmeas «ad 
loyalty, which are essentialiy cbiyalric virtues, are in general tàe 
consequences of strength and of courage ; but, in osder to render 
their practice general, it ' is necessary that some chastisement or 
disgrace should attend their violation. But, in the midst of thehr 
castles, the lords were devoid of all fear, and public opinion had 
no influence over men to whom social life wm unknown* The 
middle ages, consequently, disf^ay more examples of scandahHHr 
treachery, than any other period* Love, it is true, had asssnoued 
a new character, which preserved the same shape under Urn 
operation of the realities of the feudal system and of the romanlie 
fictions of chivalry. It was not more tender and passionate than 
among the Greeks and the Romans, but it was more respectful» 
and something of mystery was mingled with its sentiment. Sons* 
remains of the same religious veneration continued to be felt ùxt 
women, which the Germans evinced towards their prophetesses. 
They were considered rather as angelic beings than as deiténdanlr 
and inferiors* The task of serving and protecting them was con* 
sidered honourable, as though they were the representatives of 
the divinity upon earth ; and to this worship an ardour of feeling 
and a turbulence of -passion and desire were superadded» little 
known to the Germans, but peculiar to the people of the South» 
and the expression of which was borrowed from the Aràbta&s^ 
Among the chivalrous, love always preserved this pure and reU* 
gioùa character. But, where the feudal system extended tta in* 
fluence, the most extreme disorder prevailed, and, in the litera** 
tu re of that time, we find more scandalous instances» than at any 
other period, of the corruption of manners* Neither the sirvet^et, 
Dbr the can;:^^. of the Troubadours, nor'the/a6itatijp of tjbe Trott* 
véres, nor the ronances of chivalry, can be read without a blush. 
The licentious grossness of the language is equalled, in evesy- 
page, by the shameful depravity of the characters, ^nd by the mb- 
morality of the incidents. In the south of France, more parti^cu* 
larly, peace, riches, and a court life, had introduced, among the 
nobility, ao extreme laxity of manners. Gallantry seems to have 
been the sole object of their existence. The bdies, who only ap- 
peared in society after marriage, were proud of the celebrity 
which their lovers conferred on their charms. They were de- 
lighted witli becoming the ol^ect (^ the songs of their Troubn» 



J&9W ; aor w«re they offended at tbe pe^me composed ia theit 
preiMy in which gattantry wae often mmgled wHh liceDtiouaeeM. 
Thej even themselTes profewed the Gay Sciettcet ^ Oat SaUr^ 
&r thus poetry was called; and, ûi their tarn» they expressed 
their feelings in tender and impassioned verses. They instituted 
Coarts of Love, where questions of gallantry were gravely 
debated) and decided hy their suffrages. They gave, ia short, 
to the whole south of France the character of a carnival, aiord* 
ic^ » singulu* contrast to the ideas of reserve, virtue, and modesty, 
which we nsualiy attribute to those good old times. 

The more doeeiy we look into history, the more clearly. 
ahaU we perceive that the system of chivalry ia an inventioa almost 
entirely poetkal. It is impossible to dfstingoish the-coontric» ia 
which it is said to have prevailed. It is always represented as 
distant from us both in time and place ; and whilst the contem* 
poravy historians give us a clear, detailed, and complete account 
of tbe vices of the court and the great, of the ferocity or corrop*' 
tioii of the nobles, and of the servility of the people, we are asto^ 
niehad to find the poets, after a long lapse of time, adoraing the 
very same ages with the most splendid fictions of grace, virtue, and 
loyalty. The Romance writers of the twelfth century placed the 
ag/e of chivalrjr in the time of Charlemagne. The period when 
ti»os# writers existed, is the time pointed out by Francis I. At 
tbe present day, we imagine we can still see chivalry flourishing 
in the persons of Do Guesclin and Bayard, under Charles Y. and 
Francis I* &at when we come to examine either the one period 
or tbe otlier„although we find in each some lierolcspirits, are forced* 
to confess that it k nf^cessary to antedate the age of chivalry, at 
least three oc four centuries before any period of authentic history. 

We shall return to tbe inVentioa of the chivalric fictions, when 
we spealK of the Utevatare of the country where the first ro-^ 
flMSàce» o£ (Rivalry were composed, B<^therB France, and more 
eapaekiUy Normandy. The Proveivgsds, at the commencement of 
their poetical career, were not yet acquainted with them. 
The oonaq^Kssittons of th^r Troubadours were entirely lyrical, and 
not epic» They sang, but they did not recite ; and chivalry, 
amoQg them, existed rather in gallantry and sentiment than in the 
imagination. They must aeoessaryy have been acquainted with 
all the rules of chivalry, before they could formtbcdr eomposi- 
ti#as upon that model. On the most solemn occamons, in the dis* 
pates &r glopy,'ln the games called TeatoiM, when tbe Troubadours 
combated in^ verse, befi>ve illustrioas princes, or before the Courts 
o£ Love, th«f were called upon to discuss questions of the most- 
acnipulous delicacy and the most disinterested gallantry. We 
fiiudithem inqpirii^ successively t by what qoalities a lever may 
r«ideff himself most worthy of his mistress ; bow a knight may 
exaell an his Bivnto; and whethar it beagreater gvief to lose a 
Jover by death or by iafidelRy. It is io these Tentons that bravery 
|»eeomes. disinterested, and that love is exhibited pure, delicate, 



and tender ; that homage to woman hecomes a species of worship, 
and that a respect for truth is an article in the creed of honour. 
These elevated maxims and these delicate sentiments were min- 
l^ed, it is trae, with a great spirit of refining. If an example was 
Iranted, the most extravagant comparisons were employed. An- 
titheses, and plays opon words, supplied the place of proofs. Not 
anfreqnently, as is the case with those who aim at constmcting a 
SjTstem of morals hy the aid of talent alone, and who do not found 
it on experience, the mo^t pernicious sentiments, and principles 
entirely incompatible with (he good order of society and the ob^ 
aenration of other duties, were ranked among the laws of gallantry. 
kt is, however, very creditable to the Provençal poetry, that it 
displays a veneration for the beauties of chivalry, and that it has 
preserved, amidst all the vices of the age, a respect for honour 
and a love of high feeling. 

This delicacy of sentiment among the Troubadours, and this, 
mysticism of love, have a more intimate connexion with the poetry 
of the Arabians and the manners of the East than we should sus- 
pect, when we remember the ferocious jealousy of the Mussulmen, 
End the cruel consequences of their system of polygamy*. Among 
the Mussulmen, woman is a divinity as well as à slave, and the se- 
vagUo is at the same time a temple and a prison. J^he passion of 
love displays itself, among the people of the South, with a more 
lively ardour, and a greater impetuosity, Ihan in the nations of 
Europe. The Mussulman does not suffer any of the cares, or the 
pains» or the sufferings of life, to approach his wife. He bears 
these alone. His harem is consecrated to luxury, to art, and to 
pleasure. Flowers and incense, music and dancing, perpetually 
surround his idol, who is debarred from every laborious employ- 
ment. The songs in which he celebrates his love, breathe the 
same spirit of adoration and of worship which we find in the 
poets of chivalry, and the most beautiful of the Persian ghazéies 
and the Arabian cauidts seem to be translations of the verses or 
songB of the Provencals. 

We must not Judge of the manners of the Mussulmen by those 
of the Turks of our day. Of all the people who have followed 
the law of the Koran, the latter are the most gloomy and jealous. 
The Arabians, while they passionately loved their mistresses, suf* 
iered them to enjoy more liberty ; and of all the countries under 
the Arabian yoke, Spain was that in which their manners partook 
most largely of the gallantry and chivalry of the Europeans. It 
was this country also which produced the most powerful effects 
on the cultivation of the intellect, in the south of Christiaii > 

Abdalrahman I, who detached Spain from the empire of the 
Abassides, and founded that of the Ommiades, commenced his 
reign at a period when the religious fanaticism of the Mussulmen 
was eonsiderably weakened. He introduced literature and the 
arts into the West, and in Spain they attained greater prosperity 


âhan ÎD any other portion of the Massolman domimons. A com- 
plète toleration had been granted by the first conqaerors to the 
Christian Goths, who, under the name of Moç^rabians (mixed 
Arabians,) lived in the midst of the Mastsulmen. Abdalrahman, 
who obtained and merited the name of thi^ Jo«t, respected the 
rights of his Christian subjects, and only «^ougbi to attach them to 
his empire by that prodigioas superiority in artR, letters, sciences^ 
and CQltiyation, which then distinguished the Arabians. The 
Christians, living amidst the Ariibians, attempted to follow them 
in the career in which the latter hart acquired such celebrity. 
Abdalrahman, who was the contemporary of Charlemagne, like 
Ittsi was the patron of letters ; but, more enlightened tbnn that 
prince, he pursued, even in the civilization of the Christians 
themselves, a more beneficent and permanent policy than that of 
tbe French monarch. The study of the Arabic language was 
cpiMiklered by the Moçarabians as the only means of developing 
their genius.*' As early as the middle of the ninth century, 
Al^aro of Cordova complains in his bidiculns luminonts, that his 
eomitrymen have abandoned the study of their own sacred cha- 
jpacten for those of the Chaldsans. John of Seville, for the con* 
▼emence of those Christians who were better acquainted with 
the Arabian than the Latin, wrote in tbe former language an ex- 
position of the sacred Scriptures. At the same period, a collec- 
tion of the canons, according to the Church of Spain, was trans- 
lated into Arabic ; whilst, on thé other hand, several treatise» on 
tiie law and religion of the Arabians w«re composed in Spanish. 
Thas, throughout the whole extent of tbe Arabian dominions in 
Spam, the two languages were universally spoken, and, in this 
msnoer, the literature of the Arabians became familiar to the 
Christians of the West, without the latter being under the neces- 
sity of acquiring the Arabic tongue. Tbe colleges and universi- 
ties, founded by Abdalrahman and his successors, were frequented 
by all the learned of Europe. One of the most distinguished of 

* Foor princes of Uie aame of Abdalrahnian made a distioguialied figure in 
Spain, firom the middle of the eighth to the commencement of the tentfi eento- 

2r, ûAà are eoAiiy confounded with one another. The first, Abdoul-Rahman- 
en-AbdouIlah, was only a lieutenant or viceroy of the Caliph Yesid ; and yet 
it was he who endangered France, and after having taken possession ot half 
that country, was defeated in the plains of Tours, by ChaHes Martel in 733.- 
This i> probably the same prince whom Ariosto, in imitation of tbe ancient 
Romance ivriters, has introduced, by an anachronism, as the antagonist of Char- 
laaaagney under the name of Agramante. The second, the individual men- 
tioned in the text, Abdoul-Rahmt^n-BenrMoawiah, was the only one of his 
fSauly who escaped being massacred in 749, when the Ommiadan Caliphs, 
his ancestors, lost the throne of Damascus.; He wandered as a ftigitive for 
six yean in the deserts of Africa, when Spain declared in his favour. He en* 
Joyed a glorious reign from 756 to 787. Two of his descendants, Abdalrahman 
n. (828r-858) and Abdalrahman III. (918—961) borewith no less virtue and 
prosperity the titles of Caliph of the West, and of £min-£l-Moumenym (Prince 
oJT the Faithful ;) and thus the most brilliant exploits, and the hi^est proa- 
I^Mty of the Moors of Spain, are connected with the name of Abdalrahman. 

tbeie was Gerbert, who app^art to have vtnàM at Seville apd 
Cordova» and who bad acquired 90 iatîmato a fcaowlcdge of Asa^ 
biao literature, aud waa so superior to bis ago, tbat after havini 
beeo successive!^ the admiration of France and Italy, nod haviog 
ascended all the steps of the bierarcby, heûlled tbe papal chws 
from 999 to 1003, under the name of Sylvester IL Many otber». 
and more particularly the restorers of the exact sciences in France» 
En^Hod, and Italy, in the eleventh centqry, completed (beir stn» 
dies, by a residence of longer or ahorter duration, in some ef tto 
universities of the south of Spain. Campanuâ oi Novara* GerarA 
of Carmooa, AteUrd, Daniel Morley, and many others, coafein^ 
in their writings, tjhat they are indebted |o the AvaUsins ior aU 
that they have communicated to thie public. 
, The monarchy of the Qmoiiaid^s gave way, in Spain* t»a tmmff 
bei of pietty Moorish aovOreignties, which, ceasing to niakil war 
upon one another, became rivals in the cukivatioD-of tki#^attaeoA 
of letters. A great number of poets were attached ta the coatte 
of the princes of Grenada, of Sevrlle, of C^Mrdova, ef Toledo^. of 
Vakncif^ and ot Saragossa ; and numbers of astronomefSi pb|M»- 
cians, and chroniclers enjoyed, at those court»» a distiagvisfcfeâ' 
rank and the &vour of the sovereign. Among these many w^Pft* 
Christians and Moçarabiaoa, and many belonged, both by ral%iati 
and birth, to the two langiuages and the two countries. Whan* 
ever they experfenced any mortificationa at the court» of the Moiar* 
isb lung^, or wbenever^ tbey felt any apprehension for thair 
liberty or their propertj^ they fled, carrying with tbeiartheîr 
talents and their industry, to the ChiistianSt who teoekred Ibem 
like unfortunate brethren^ The petty princesi of the groiving 
«kingdoms of Spain, more especially those of Catalonia and Ainvr* 
gpn, by wbicih until the year S 11^, the Husauhiien kii^om ef 
Saragossa was surroundedi, attached^ to their pensoBS, the ma* ^ 
thematiciai^, the philosophers, the physicians, and the Treuha* 
clours, or iaventors of stories and songs, who Jiad received; tbekr 
first education an the schools of Andalusia, and who entertained 
those court» bj the tale^ unci wurkv a£ ûcixou which they borrow* 
e4 firpm the literature of the East. The uaion ef the sovereijgn- 
ties of Catsdonia and Provence» introduced these oaeft of science 
and the Troubadours into the states of Raymond Berenger» Tbe 
various dialects of the Romance were not then so distinct as ih^ 
are at pressait, and the Troubadours passed with ease frons iïm 
Oastilian te the Provençal, which w>a8 then reputed' the most ele^ 
gant of all the lainages of the South.* 

* lee llltite werk puMiihed in 1618, On the BrntpEO^e md UHerature o/Pro" 
vMWf , Augustus William Schlegel aUeiit{Et9 to diiprore tiie iniltieneè of tHe 
AmMmm on the ciritisation nml jioetry q? tiie Frorençsle^ Hé attrAmfeytt^ 
the gpftftiarâs of the Middle Agt8^ and he hja done so on other oeca^ions, the 
inteleraBoe and reiigieus hatred which their detcendsnts evinced, under tha 
three Philips» Histi^ does not mention this arersiott betweeii tlie Spanian^ii 


Itbtm it was that the natioiis of aodera Eiiro|M wtre taagfit the 
est of poetry; end the rales which were impoted enable ui to 
lacogaiM the school from which it proceedecL The first rdle, 
which owy be called peculiar to modem poetry, w« rhyme. The 
iaveatioe of rhyming the terminations of verses, or the middle of 
Ihe verse with the termination, was unknown to the GreekSi 
thoegh it it aometimea to b^ found in the classical Latin jN^^ti, 
when, however, it appears to have been admitted with a different 
view than that which we proposed to ourselves by the use of 
rhyme* It was introduced less for the purpose of marking the 
verses than the sense ; and it was formed merely by a cohtcidence 
In the construction of the sentence. One verb, or one noun, was 
placed in opposition to another, and the effect ef the repetitioa 
was to indicate, by the ear, that the poet was pursuing anaiegoos; 
idem for three or four verses, after which the rhyming was aban» 
dened. The Latin poems of the Middle Ages are more frequently 
rhymed, even as early as the eighth or ninth century. But it 
must be recollected that the mixture of the Arabiana and the 
Latins took place in the eighth century, and it would, therefore, 
be difficf^t to prove that the first rhymed Letin poetry was not 
borrowed from the Arabians, So, ako, with regard to the Ger- 
man rhymed poetry, the most ancient poems which we find 
Ajtama in couplets, are not near so early as the first poetical 
attempts» which were always in rhyme, of the Arabians, or, 
bdeed, as the first known intercourse between the two nations. 
H is very powiUe that the Goths, on their invasion of Europe, 

mètiM Moers. UntU the tuns of Alpkoato X. sf CattUe, tlisr» was net a 
mit» iSign in wkicb Mme Cliriituui prince did mot take reftige at a Moernh 
coiutj or when a MoorUh io?ereign did not eeek shelter from a Chrietiafr 
king. For a hundred and fifty years, we see at the courts of the two fLomtn 
and the two Williams of Sici^r, as well as at that of Frederick II. Arabian 
ooattien mingled with Italiaa, and the Judges of all the provinces in the tiro 
Swtliet selected from among the Saracens* The two nations were intimate* 
1^ blended, in the south of Europe, during at least five centuries. M. Rnj« 
nouard has produced proofs of the existence ef the Romance language at 
Coimbra in Fortugalt in the year 734, on an ordinance of Alboacem, son of 
Mahomet Alhamar. At this rery time, all the provinces of the south of 
pmaee had been eon<|uered by Abdalrahann. The taking of Toledo, in 1095, 
is not, then, the period which the Abbé. Andres, M. Ginguenè, or myseU^ 
have fixed as the «ra of the ProYençal poetry ; nor does the diicorerr of the 
Bomance poem of Boethius, anterior to the year 1000, give us the coup at grMt, 
The taking of Toledo merely placed the most celebrated school of the Ara« 
bians in the power of the Christiatas. This school continued to spread the 
Kiences of the Arabians in the West, long after the auxture of the courts had 
rendered their poetry familiar. 

The influence of the Moors Oftr the Latins is distiagaiehible in the study of 
science, philosophy, the arts, coinmerce, sgneuHuia, aed cTon religion. It 
would be strange then, indeed, if it did not eatend to the songs which enliren* 
ed the festivals in which the two natioBs used ta mingie, when we know how 
passionately fond they both were of music and poetiy. The same air adapted 
by turns to Arabian and Romance words, necessarily required the same time 
iaihe stansa and the same distribution of the rhymes. 


may hairé introdaced the usç of rhyme» from thoie Eastern coàn- 
tries whence they issoed. Bat the most esseotial and antique 
form of yersification, among the Teutonic nations, was borrowed 
from the ScandioaviaDS, and consisted in alliteration, and not in 
rhyme. This alliteration is the repetition of the same letters at 
the commencement of the words, and not of the same sound . at 
the termioatioa. The Niebelangen, which was written early ia 
the thirteenth century, is rhymed in coaplets, and almost, it may 
be said, in the French style. But the same poem, in the Icelandic 
traditions, which was versified in the ninth or tenth century, is not 

The consonants held a very important place in the languages 
of the North, which abound in them, as do the vowels in those of 
the South. Alliteration, therefore, which is but a repetition of 
the consonants, is the ornament of the Northern tongues ; while 
assonance^ or the rhvming of the terminating vowels, is peculiar 
to the popular verses of the nations of the South, although the 
practice has been reduced into a system only among the Spaniards. 

Rhyipe, then, which was essential to all the poetry of the Ara- 
bians, and Was combined b^ them in various ways to please the 
ear, was introdaced by the Troubadours into the Provençal lan- 
guage, with all its variations of sound. The most usual form, ior 
Arabic poetrj, is the rhyming in couplets; not making the twa 
accordant lines rhyme simply with one another, unconnected witlr 
the preceding or subsequent rhymes, as in the poetry of the Nhebe* 
lungen, or in our heroic^ verse J but rhyming every other linè^ 
together, so that the rhyme is continued through the whole stanza, 
6T the whole poem. This is, likewise, the most ancient form of 
Spanish poetry. A well-known poem of the Emperor Frederick 
I. proves that the same order of rhymes was employed by the 
Provenç -Is. This emperor, who spoke almost all the languages 
of his time, ibet Raymond Berenger II. Count of Provence, at 
Turin, in 1154, and bestowed on him the investiture of his fiefs*. 
The count was accompanied by a great number of the poets of his 
nation, of whom almost all were among the principal nobility of his 
court. They delighted Frederick by the richness of their iinagt^; 

** The foUomng is an example of tbe alliterations which supplied the p1a6C 
ÔÎ rhyme. The lines are from the German imitation of Fonqne. 

JHell Ter&tfissen 

Hat's mein oAeim, 

Kurz mein Z^ben ftuhn. mein tiati ; 

JZasch mein rache, 

jRaiib der ausgang, 

jFTtessead btut im N|^genstftm> 



nsttiooSy and the harmony of their yenes. Frederick repaid their 
attentions by the following lines :^ 

A Frenehmao FlI have for my eairtlieri 

And a Catalonian dame, 

A Genoese for his honour clear, 

And a court of Ca^tUian fame ; 

The Provençal songs my ear to please, 

And the dances of Trevisan, 

I'll have the grace of the Arragonese, 

And the pearl of )iiUan ; ' 

An Englishman's hands and face for me, 

And a youth I'll have from Tuscany. 


In Arabic poetry, also, the second verse of each couplet fre- 
aaently terminates with the same word, and this repetition has 
neen, likewise, adopted by the Provencals* A remarkable ex- 
ample of it may be found in some verses of Geoffrey de Rndel, 
a gentleman of Blieux in Provence, and one of those who were 
presented ta Frederick Barbarossa, in 1154. The occasion on 
ivhich these lines were composed was an extraordinary one, and 
very illustrative of the wildness of the imagination and manners 
of the Troubadours. The knights, who had returned from the 
Holy Land, spoke with enthusiasm of a Countess of Tripoli, 
who had extended to them the most generous hospitality, and 
whose grace and beauty equalled her virtues. Geoffrey Kudel, 
hearing this account, fell deeply in love with her, without having 
ever seen her ; and prevailed upon one of his friends, Bertrand 
d'Allamanon, a Troubadour like himself, to accompany him to the 
Levant, ^n 1162, he quitted the court of England, whither he 
had been conducted by Geoffrey the brother of Richard I., and 
embarked for the Holy Land. On his voyage, he was attacked 
by a severe illness, and had lost the power of speech, when he 
arrived at the port of Tripoli. The countess, being informed 
that a celebrated poet was dying of love for her, on board a ves- 
sel which was entering the roads, visited him on shipboard, took 

* Plas mi cavalier France/, 

E la donna Catalana, 
1^ Ponrar 'del Ginoes, 

£ la court de Gastellana-, 
Lou cantar Proven^alez, 

£ la danasa Treyisaoa, 
£ lou corps Âragones, 

£ la perla Juliana, 
La mans e kara d'Angles, 

£ lou donzel de Toscans. 

[The above translation is borrowed from ^ne of the very able articles on 
tbe Poetical Literature of Spain, which have appeared in the RetrospectiTe Re- 
view, and whieh are, we believe, correcUy attributed to the pen of Mr. Bow* 
ring,— 2V.1 

vol.. I. . 8 

I t 



Urn kkidly by the hand, and attempted to cheer his spirits. 
Rudely we are assured, recovered his speech sufficiently to thank 
the countess for her humanity, and to declare his passion, when 
his expressions of gratitude wer^ silenced by the convulsions of 
death. He was buried at Tripoli, beneath a tomb of porphyry, 
which the countess raised to his memory, with an Arabic inscrip- 
tion. I have transcribed his verses on distant lave^ which he com- 
posed previous to his last voys^e. The French version, which 
I have added to this Provençal fragment, has no pretensions to 
poetryp but is merely to be considered as an attempt to preserve 
the measure and rhymes of the original. It is the Provençal 
itself, with its repetitions, its refinement, its occasional obscurity, 
though at the same time, with its simplicity, composed in obedience 
to rules peculiar to itself but foreign to us, which it is my object 
} to give. If I had wished to translate the Provençal into French 

versoi I must have paid a very different degree of attention to the 
construction ^f our language, and to its poetical character.^ 

Angry tad lad shaU be my way. 

If I belM>ld not her afar. 
And yet I know not when that day 

Shall rise, for still she dweUs afar. 
Ood ! who hast formed this fair array 

Of worids, and placed my lore afar. 
Strengthen my heart with hope, I pray, 

. Of seeing her I lore aAur. 
Oh, Lord ! belioTe my faithful lay, 

For well I lo?e her though afar, 
Thoiq;h bat one blessing may repay 

The thousand griels I feel aftur. 
No other love shall shed its ray 

On me, if not this lore afar, 
A brkhter one, whereV I stray 

I shall not see, or near, or fiir. 

* [The original Profençal, and M. de Sismondi's ? ersion, are both given 
below. The attempt which the translator bas made to present Uiese singnlar 
verses in an English dress, is, he is aware, a very imperfect one. — TV.] 

Irat et dolent m'en partray 

S'ieu non Toy cet amour de laench. 

Et non say qu' oura la veray 

Car sont trop noutras terras Inench. 
Dieu que fez tout quant ran e ray 

Et forma aquest amour luench 

My don poder al cor car hay 

Esper vezer l'amour de inench. 
Smour, tenes mi pour Teray 

L'amour qu'ay vers alla de luench x 

Car pour un ben que m'en esbay 

Hay mille mais, tant soy de luench. 
Ja d'autr'amour non jausirai 

8*ieu non jau desf amour de luench, 

^'una plus bella non en say 

161 lues que sta ny prez ni luench. 


Bat the Troubadoan did not always adhere to this fortti which 
is esseotially of Arabic invention. They Taried their Aymet in 
a thousand different ways. They crossed and intertwined their 
Terses» so that the return of the rhyme was pttserred throuf^ont 
the whole stanza ; and they relied on their harmonions langai^, 
and on the well eiercised ears of their readers» for making the 
eipectation of the rhyme, and its retam after many Tersee, e^qdly 
productive of pleasure. In this manner, they hare always ap* 
peered to me to have been completely masters of rhyme» and to 
have treated it as their own peculiar property ; whilst the Qermans, 
who pretend to have communicated it to them, managed it in the 
most timid manner, even in the twelfth century, rhyming their 
lines together, two and two, when they ought to have rhyaaed 
them alternately ; as though they fearà that, in a language so 
heavy as their own, two rhymes, not immediately connected, 
would be lost Still less did they attempt to restore the rhyme 
after an interval of several lines. ,lt is true, that at a later pened, 
in the thirteenth century, the BAinne<^singers> or reciters at love- 
songs, the Troubadours of Germany, iuâated this play tipen the 
rhymes, and all the difficult variations which they saw in use 
among the Provencals. 

Ryhme Was the very groundwork of the Provençal poetry, 
whence it ctept into the poetry of aU the other nations of BMdern 
Europe. But it did not constitute all the requisites of verse. 
The number and the accentuation of the sylUbles were substitnted 
by the Provencals, in imitation of the Arabians, as far as we can 
judge, in the place of the quantity or the emphasis, which formed 
the basis of Greek and Latin verse. In the languages of antiqnity, 
each syllable had, in the pronunciation, a somid, the duration of 
which was invariably filed. The relative duration of thèse aounda 
Was likewise determined by an exact standard ; and, ell the 
syllables beinig distributed iotô two classes of long and short, the 
versification w^s founded on this primary classification, and very 
much resembled the measure in music. The verse was foimed 
of a certain number of measures which were called feet, and 

Irrité, Solent partirai, 

. Si ae ?oi0 cet amoar de lain, 
£t ne sais quand je le veirai. 
Car sont par trop nos terres loin. 

Dieu, qui toutes choses as fait. 
Et formas cet amour s| loin, 
Sonne force à mon eœur, car ai 
L'espoir de voir m'amoinr au loin. 

Abl Seigneur, tenez pour bien yrai 
L'amour qu'ai pour elle de loin, 
Car pour un bton que j'en aurai, 
Jtû mille rnsna, tant je suis loin. 

Ja d'autr'amour ne jouirai. 
Sinon de cet amonr de loin, 
Qu'une plus belle je ne'n sçais, 
En lieu qui soit ni près ni loin* 

do ON THE UTfiEATIfttlâ 

which marked the rise and fall of the tune, which always coin-* 
prised the same time, aod, whatever variation there might bei* 
kf the sound of the proounciatioo, the line still preserved the- 
same uniform measure. This mixture of different feet gave the 
Greeks and Romans a prodigious number of verses, of various» 
lengths and measures, in which it was essentially neccessary to 
arrange the words in such a manner, that the ear might be strack 
by the equality of the time, and by the uniform cadence of the 
sounds. In none of the Romance languages can the ear distin- 
guish the syllables into long and short, or assign them a precise 
and proportionate qnarntity. Accent in them, supplies the place 
of quantity. In all of them, with the exception of the French, 
there is some one syllable, in every word, upon which the 
stress of pronunciation is laid, and which seems to determine 
the predominant sound of the word. The Provençal in par->' 
ticular, is strongly accentuated. The Troubadours, perceiving» 
this, and being probably unacquainted with the harmony of Latia 
verse, produced something analogous to it in their own poetry^ ^ 
by mixing accentuated with unaccentuated syllables. The ear 
alone was their guide, for they did not, in their poetry, attempt 
to imitate the classical authors. Indeed they ill understood the 
rules which they themselves obeyed, and would have found it 
difficult to communicate them. The organization of their verse 
was more simple than that of Xhe ancients. They only employed 
a measure which consisted of two syllables uoequally accentuated, 
and that of two kinds, the trochee,, consisting of. a long and » 
short syllable,, and the iambic, of a short and a long ; and they 
preferred for constant, use, and for the groundwork of their verse, 
the iambic, as did afterward the Italians. The Spaniards, on the 
contrary, in their ancient poetry, made choice of the trochee, 
and preserved also, in their heroic poetry, los versos de arte mayor , 
the dactyl, consisting of a long and two short syllablesj^ or the 
amphibrach, of a long syllable between two short ones. But it 
must not be supposed .that the Provencals, the Spaniards, and the 
Italians, or even the Greeks and Romnns, took any extraordinary 
pains in the selection of the syllables, so as to place the long and 
short syllables alternately and in the requisite order. Certain 
parts of the line required an accent or a long syllable. There 
were thus two or three syllables in each verse, as -the fourth or 
the sixth, the eighth and the tenth, the quantity and position of 
which were fixed ; and, in consequence of the regular proportio|i 
in the modern languages, between the accentuated and the unac- 
centuated syllables, the former naturally drew the others into their 
proper places and communicated the measure to the verse. 

These syllables, the quantity of which is fixed in the modéra 
languages, are those which mark the caesura, those which corres- 
pond with it, and those which terminate the verse. The caesura 
is that point of rest which the ear, in accordance with the sense, 
determines in the middle of the line, dividing it into two parts of 


\milorm proportion. In the verse of ten syllableg, which it most 
fireqoeotiy met with in the Romance languages, this point, which 
ought natarally to occur after the foorth syllable, may, according 
to the taste of the poet, be deferred to the siith ; and it is one 
branch of the art, so to intermix these unequal proportions as to 
prevent the ear from being fatigued with the too great monotony 
of the verse. When the caesura is placed regularly aAer the 
&Qrth syllable, that syllable ought to be strongly accentuated ; so 
ought the eighth, with which it corresponds at an equal distance ; 
and the same is to be preserved with regard to the tenth syllable, 
upon which the voice dwells, at the end of the verse. In those 
verses, io which this disposition of the accents is varied, and the 
first hemistich is longer than the second, the csMora falls upon the 
sixth pliable, which ought to be accentuated as well as the tenth. 
When all the equal syllable» are accentuated, it almost necessarily 
happens that the unequal ones are not so, and the verse naturally 
divides itself into five iambics. The poet has only the power of 
sometimes substituting a trochee in the place of the first and third 
foot, or of the first and second ; and the quantity of the line can- 
not be false, unless when the fourth, the eighth, and the ninth, or 
the sixth and the tenth, are not accentuated.'* 

* Hovrerer fiitigulng these details may appear, I have thought it neceisarj 
to add, in a note, some examples, drawn from difiè^nt languages, for the 
benefit of those only who are desirous of seriously studying the laws of Tersi- 
fieatioo, in foreign languages. In fact, the prosody which the Pro?ença]s in- 
Tented, is uniTersally adopted in^e modern languages, with the exception of 
the French. The French, who are strangers to these rules, are inclined to 
deny their existence* They judge of the rerse of other nations by their own. 
They count the syllables and observe the rhyme, but whilst they neglect the 
study of thé prosody, it is impossible for them to feel that harmony of lan« 
Soage to which poetry owes its most powerful effects. 

In prosody, two marks are employed ; the one ( -' ) distinguishes the long 
or accentuated syllables ; the other ( w ) the short syllables. These I have 
placed OTor the corresponding syllables in the verse, and I have divided the 
hemistich after the caesura by this mark (=;=). 

Lo jom que us ti = o donna primament 
Quant a vos plac = que us mi laisest vezer 
Parti mon cor = tot autre pensamen, 

C— «to Ml Owl Um} OmI 

£ forum ferm en vos ss tuit mei voler 

Que sim passez =? Donna en mon cor Penveia 

O Ml O M» O Ml U Ml O m) 

A un dolz riz =s el ab un dolz esgard 

M tfl U Ml O mIm Ml WMt 

Mie quant es = mi fezes oblidar. 

Jîmqud de JéanàUi. 

In the Provençal verses, at least in those of ten syllables, the quantity ia 
more difficult to fix, since* the poet has the choice of such a variety of measures, 
«nd has only one, or at most two feet, in the verse, the quantity of which h 




I must claim the kidiilgence of the reader, for these dry and ùl- 
tigoiog details, into which I am compelled to eater. The lawe o£ 
rersifiieatioD which the Troubadoarft discovered, are of rery ge- 
neral application. They extend to the literature of aH these na* 
tiens of whkh I propose to treat. They have been adopted by 


determiBed. Stffi, it û always the Tarittion of the accent which gives die 
verse its harmony* 

The same rales apply, withoet exception» to all the other noden lanfingae: 
and the Italian Tcrses» for instance, oi;^ht to be scanned» en the PxoTcnçal 
principle, thus : 

Miser chi mal o pran = do si con fida 

Ch* egnov star deh « bin il matoâeio oconlto, 

Che quando ogn' altro tac ss= cia intomo grida 

L'ariaelateiia>stesaaeaiB^*^* / 


It shottld bo remarked, that the esesnra often divides a word in the middle, 
but, in this case, the accent is on the first syllable ; and thns, the mute syUdrie 
which follows, being scarcely sounded, reattaches itself to the first hemistich* 
The lines, in Italian» terminate almost «Iways with a mute syllable, se tint 
tiiey are composed of ÛYt iambics and a half. The Spanish and Portugaese 
veises» after the tine of Charles V«» are perfeetly aimitar. 

Solo y penso = so en prados y desiertos 
saw passos doy ^ cny dosos y cai^ados 
T entrambos o as jos traygo levaatados 

A ver no vea algnien ss ous desconeiertos. 


De tamanhas victo s= nas trlnmphava 

O velho Afon = so Principe snbido 

Huando quem tudo em fim ssz Tcncendo andava 

c «ru fxi V «» V M* u mO 

Da large e muita Ida = de foi vencido. 


Bot the Spanish or Portuguese redomKIAs, employed in romances» songs» and 
dramatic dialogues, is composed of trochees» which are the inverse of the 

. Sentose el conde a la mesa 

No cenava m podia 

Con sus» hQoa al costado 

Ctap mny mocho los quena. 

Rmnmce fiAUntcos. 


all the coimtriea of tke gontb, and b^ most of tho poopio of the 
Dorth of Europe. This stroctare of the verfe« tut mechanicd 
part of poetrj, is stngolarly Gonnected» by some secret and jdjs- 
terioQB associations, with omr feelings and oar eniotions, and with 
all that speaks to our ims^nations and oar hearts. It wonld he 
wrong* in studying the divine language of poetry, to regard it 
merely as the trammeb of thought Poetry excites oar eototlons» 
and awakens or captirates our passions, only becanse it is some* 
thing which comes more home to our bof oms than prose ; soase* 

Canta q csmmfcanto ledo 
xfo candnho trsbalhoso 
for entre o SfpsiMO urondo 

— »»—.» ^ V 1m»'i» 

E ds noite o tesoiercMO 

Gantando refrea o meao. 

Comoeitff BedondOhas. 

The aneieat beroic rtnt ot thù âpaaiih and PetftagMscb whicb tliey call 
verso de mrU mmfcr^ waa conpoaed of four dactyls or amphifertchsi or of time 
dactyls and a spondee. 

> X3omo no creo que foaien meaorea 

O — VIOm VI «> ,« Vt — — » 

Be leaAfrioanoflloalieelios del Cid? 

rii que feroeesmenos en la Ud 

Batraaaen loa auaetreaque loa A gc aer et 7 

Jhten de Mena^ Labyrintho. 

Lartiy» the Eaglisii herole, and Oe Oermaa dranatie verBe, completely re- 
«aasMe llie Vrotençal aad Italian iamUc of ten syllablea. The Ibnaer I hare 

Now morn her rosy step8==^ ta' eastern cUme 

O Ml 4> ««I U Ml M — t«) M» 

Adyanciag.sowed=the earth with orient pearl 

Whoa Adan wakfdatsio cnstomM, for his aleep 

was airy light=:trom pare digestion bred. 

Miltoo, howavar, ia not ao eaay to aeaa, m he oftea attempted to iadtate 
ike Latin prosody in his EngUsh Teraes. Of all BMdern prosodies, the Ger- 
man is the most fixed, for it always agraes with the grammar* 

O m«*V to-* O — f t> mm 

Ha welche wonne fliess^in diesem blicE 

O Ml O — •« tt mIWmI^V ^) V 

Aufeinmidmirardarch allé meine Sinnen! 
Ich fhhle inn'asge heil'ges Lebens glaek, 

«• Ml U Ml W Ml O —tl W -Ml u 

Nea glahend miF»darch nerv and adern rinnen. 

GoHhe, Fattit. 



thing, which seizes upon our whole being, bj the senses as well 
as by the soul, and impresses ns more deeply than language alocre 
conld do. Symmetry is one of the properties of the sonl. It 
is an idea which precedes all knowledge, which is applicable to all 

> the arts, and which is inséparable from our perceptions of beauty. 
It is by a principle anterior to all reflection, that we look, in 
buildings, in furniture, and in every production of human art, for 
the same proportion which the hand of Nature has so visibly 

-.imprinted on the figur** of man and of the inferior animals. This 
symmetry, which is founded on the harmonious relation of the 
parts to the whole, and is »o different from uniformity, displays it- 
self in the regular return of the strophes of an ode, as well as in 
the* correspondence of the wingn of a palace. It is more distin- 
guishable in modem poetry than in that of antiquity > in conse- 
quence of the rhyme, which harmonizes the different parts of the 
same stanza. Rhyme is an appeal to our memory and to ou^ 
expectations. It awakens the sensations we have already expe- 
rienced, and it makes us wish for new ones. It increases the im- 
portance of sound, and gives, if 1 may so express myself, a colour 
to the words. In our modem poetry, the importance of the syl- 
lables is not measured solely by their duration, but by the/asso- 

' ciations they afford ; and vowels, by turns, slightly, perceptibly, 
or emphatically marked, are no longer unnoticed, when the rhyme 
announces their approach and determines their position. What 
would become of the Provençal poetry, if we perused it only to 
discover the sentiment, such as it would appear in languid prose ? 
It was not the idesA alone which gave delii^ht, when the Trouba- 
dour adapted his beautiful langage to the melodious tones of his 
harp ; when inspired by valour, he uttered his bold, nervous; and 
resounding rhymes ; or, in tender and voluptuous strains, ex- 
pressed the vehemence of his love. The rules of his art, even 
more than the words in which he expressed himself, were in accord^ 
ance with his feelings. The rapid and recurring accentuation, 
which marked every second syllalile in his iambic verses, seemed 
to correspond with the pulsations of his heart, and the very mea- 
sure of the language answered to the movements of his own soul. 
It was by this exquisite sensibility to musical impressions, and by 
this delicate organization^ that the Troubadours became the in*^ 
ventors of an art, which they themselves were unable to explain. 
They discovered the means of communicating, by this novel har^ 
mony, those emotions of the soul, which all poets have en- 
deavoured to produce, but whioh they are now able to effect, only 
by following the steps of these inventors of our poetical measures. 

[ 6ô] 


w^ aftfael^MdNidoiiriyandontlMir AflMtoiytBdlitftîAiPoc^ 

The CouDts of Proyence were not the only toyereigni, among 
those of the sooth of France, at whose court the Laogoe d'Oc, 
or Romaoce Provençal, was spoken, and where the reciters of 
tales, and the poets, who had been formed in the Moorish schools, 
found a flattermg reception aod snre protection. At the concla- 
sion of the eleventh century, oné-haltof f^raoce was goyemed by 
independent princes, whose only common bond was the Proyen- 
çal language, which was spoken alike by them all. The most 
r^nôwned of these sovereigns were, the Counts of Toulouse, the 
Dukes of Aquitaioy'of the house of Poitou, the Dauphins of Yien- 
nois and of Auvergne, the iPrinces of Orange, of the house of 
Bau:it, and the Counts de Fois. After these, came an infinite 
number of viscounts, barons, and lords, who in some petty pro- 
vince or town, or even castle, enjoyed the prerogatives of sove- 
reignty. To these inferior courts, the physiciai&s, the astrologers, 
and the reciters of tales, resorted, in pursuit of fortune, and intro- 
duced into the North an acquaintance with the learning and the 
arts of Spain. Their highest ambition^ probably, was to amuse 
the leisure of the great, and to please them by their flatteries. 
The recompense which they promised themselves, and which 
they received alike from the Christian and Moorish princes^ 
was the permission to take a part in the festivals, to which they 
gave animation by their recitids and their songs, and to accept the 
presents of rich habits and of horses- which were there heBt^^eà 
upon them. But it was to heroes they addressed tha'Uâelves ; 
and as they s^ng of love and glory, their verses penetrating to 
the inmost hearts of their hearers, communicated to them the 
deep emotion which swelled within the poet's own bosom. It 
was thus that the subject of their songs gave an elevation to their 
characters, and duit the fugitives from the Moorîdh territories be- 
came the instructors of princes. Scarcely had the art of song 
be^i introduced into southern France, and <he rules of versifica- 
tion been invented, when poetry becaB^o the recreation of the 
most illustrious men. The lyric f«nn, which it had received 
from the Arabians, rendered it pr^por to convey only the n'oblest 
sentiments. In verse, the poet sang his love, his martial ardour, 
and the independence of his ^^oul ; and no sovereign sate upon so 
proud a throne, as not to think himself honoured in the capacity 
of expressing such sentiments. Tlie amorous ^monarchs cele- 
brated their mistresses in verse ; and when the first sovereigns of 
Europe had thus assumed their rank, among the poets or Trouba- 
dours, there was not a single baron or knight, who did not think 

Vol. I. 9 



it his duty to superadd to his fame, as a brave and gallant man, the 
reputation of a gentle Troubadour. To these poetical pursalts, 
nothing; more was necessary^ than a perception of what is musical 
and harmonious. In obedience to this faculty, the words naturally 
fell into the order most agreeable to the ear, and the thoughts, 
the images, and the sentiments, acquired that general accordance 
and melodious congruity which seem to proceed from the soul, 
and to which study can add nothing. It is astonishing to observe 
what very slight ti'aces of learning, the poetry of the Troubadours 
displays. No allusion to history or mythology ; no comparison, 
borrowed from foreign manners ; no reference to the sciences or 
the learniog of the schools, are mingled with their simple effu- 
sions of sentiment. This' fact enables us to comprehend, how it 
was possible for princes and knights, who were often unable to 
read, to be yet ranked among the most ingenious Troubadonrs. 

Several public events materially contributed to enlarge the. 
sphere of intellect of the knights of the Langue d'Oc ; to make 
enthusiasm, rather than interest, their spring of action ; to pre* 
sent a new world to their eyes, and to strike their imaginations 
with extraordinary images. Never does a nation display a more 
poetical character, than when some great and uncommon circum- 
stances operate upon minds, yet endowed with all the vigour or 

The first of these events was the conquest of Toledo, and of all 
New Castile, by Alfonso VI. King of Castile. That monarch, 
who was then seconded by the hero of Spain, the Cid Rodrignez, 
or Ruy Diaz de Bivar, invited a number of French, Provençal, 
and Gascon knights, who were connected with him by his mar- 
riage with Constance of 'Burgundy, to take part in the expedition, 
in which he was engaged from 1083 to 1085, and the result of 
which more than doubled his territories, and* confirmed the pre- 
ponderance, of the Christians in Spain. This Was the first war 
against the in&dels, in which, for two hundred years, the French 
had been engaged, and it preceded, by forty years, the preaching 
of the first crusade. The warriors, gathered together in one 
army from variovis states, finding themselves thus in the midst of 
stranger nations, became still more deeply attached to glory. 
The fame of the Cid^^as pre-eminent above that of every other 
man of his age. The Moorish and Castilian poets had already be- 
gun to celebrate it, and ti> prove how well their popular songs 
were calculated to spread the renown of their heroes. The con- 
quest of Toledo, also, mingled ù^e Moors and the Christians in a 
more intimate manner. A complete toleration was grante(jl to 
such of the Moors as remained subje^ct to the King of Castile ; 
and Alfonso engaged, even by x)ath, to permit them to use the ca- 
thedra) as a mosque. Of this, however, he afterwards deprived 
them, at the solicitation of his wife, and in obedience to a pretend- 
ed miracle. From this period, even until the reign of Philip HI. 
for the space of 630 years, Toledo always contained a nunveroms 

OF TMM mQl^BAJ»0Ult8* 67 

Jlfooridi popnlatioti» iiitenoiogle4 with the Cbristianfl. This city, 
ODe of the most celebrated uDivenities of the ArabianSi retained 
it$8choolfi and all its learned institotioos, and «pread, among the 
Christians, the knowledge of Eastern letters. The Moçarabians 
assumed a rank in tKe court and the army, and the French 
knights found themselves residing among men, whose imagination, 
intellect, and taste, had beep developed bj the Saracens. When, 
after the capture of Toledo, on the 25th of M^y, 1085, they re- 
itvued from this glorious ei^pedition, they carried back with them 
into their own country, a portion of that cultivation of mind, which 
they had witnessed in Spain. 

The second circumstance, which contributed to impress a 
poetical character «a the eleventh and twelfth centuries, was the 
preaching of the crusade in 1095, and the continued communica- 
tion, which was in consequence established, between Christendom 
and the Levant. . The crusade appears to have been preached 
with mixch zeal in the countries of the Langue d'Oc. Clermont 
d', Auvergne, where the council was tfeld, was within that terri- 
tory. The Pontifical Legate at the crusade, the Bishop of Puy, 
the Count of Toulouse, Raymond de Saint-Gilles» and the Duke 
of .Acquitain, William IX. Count of Poitou, were at that time the 
principal sovereigns of the south of France, and among the most 
distinguiahed of the Crosses. Of all the events reconled in the 
history of the world, there is, perhaps, not one of a nature so 
highly poetical as the crusades ; not one, which presents a more 
powerful picture of the grand effects of enthusiasm, of noble ssi- 
crifice^ of self-interest, which is ever prosaic in its nature, to 
faith, sentiment, and passion, which are essentially poetical. 
Many of the ^roubadours partook of the enthusiasm of their 
countrymen, and «accompanied them to the crusade. The most 
distinguished of these poets as well as warriors, was William IX. 
Count of Poitou, and Duke of Acquitain, the oldest of the po'ets, 
whose works M. de la Curne de Sainte-Palaye has collected. 
He w^s born in 1071, and died in 1127. The famous Eleanor, 
Queen of France, and afterwards of England, who, when divorced 
by Louis le Jeune, transferred the sovereignty of Guienne, Poitou, 
«nd Saintonge, to Henry II. of England, was grand-daughter to this 

The succession of the Kings of England to the sovereignty of a 
considerable part of the countries where the Langue d'Oc pre- 
vailed, was the third great political event which influenced the 
manners and opinions of the people, and consequently of the 
Troubadours also, by mingling the different races of men, intro- 
ducing poets to the courts of the most powerful monarcfas, and 
extending to literature something of that national interest, to which 
the long rivalry between the Kings of France and England, had 
given rise. On the other hand, the encouragement given to the 
Troubadours, by the kings of the house of Plantâgenet, bad a 
great influence qii the f«rn\9tion of the English language, and fur 


Dished Chaucer, the father of En^h ^Uteratare, mith his feat 
model for imitation. 

This language was adopted, at one and the same time, l>j tke 
sovereigns of one half of Earope. We find Pfov^n^ verses 
composed by the Emperor of Germany, Frederick Barbarossa» 
Richard I. of England, Alfonso II. and Peter UI. of Aragon» 
Frederick III. of Sicily, the Dauphin of Auvergne, the Count «de 
Foil, the Prince of Orange, and the Marquis of Montferrât,'KiBg 
of Thessalonica. It well deserved the preference which it eB- 
tained over all other langages. The grammar was regular and 
complete ; the verbs had the same inflexions which the Italian 
verbs have at the present day, and even more.^ The regularity 
of their moods allowed the suppression of the pronouns, and thus 
added to the rapidity of the expression. The substantives had a 
quality peculiar to this language, of being employed either as mas- 
culines or as féminines, at the option of the writer.t The flexi- 
bility of the .substantives gave the language a more figurative 
ciiaracter. Inanimate bemgs were clothed with a sex at the will 
of the poet, and were by turns masculine and fierce, or sweet and 
Toluptuoos, according to the gender which was assigned^o them. 
The substantives, as well as the adjectives, had terminations which 
expressed all the modifications, both of augmentatioivand diminu- 
tiop, which denoted either agreeable or dis^eeable ideas, con- 
tempt, ridicule, or approbation. This is stHl the case . in the 
Italian and Spanish ; whilst, in French, the diminutive» have be- 
come solely expressive of the ridiculous, and augmentatives ave 
no longer known. The Provençal language, as we now find it 
written, appears to us to be studded with consonants, but most of 
those which terminated the words were suppressed in the pronun- 
ciation. On the other hand, almost all the diphthongs were pro- 
nounced with the two sounds united in the same syllable (for ex- 
ample, daiiraday and not dorada,) which gave greater fulness find 
richness to the language. A great number of the words were 
figurative, and expressed their signification in their sound. Many 
were peculiar to the language, and can only be translated by em- 
ploying a periphrasis.^ 

* As, for inttanee, a pecuUar gemnd— 4oiil-iai:;4ifi,«i|piiifyiiig tfie âjuration 
. of the act of ipeakiag ; upandigum^ the duration of th^ act of extendixig^ 

t Thus they said lou cap, or la capo, the head ; Poa, or Votaa, the bone ; im 
fida^ or u^ftdsaOf a burden ; Uu ruse, or la ruscoj the bark ; lêu ranif or la ro- 
mo, the foliage f w^Ulh, or untfielha^ a leaf, &e. 

> Aaother peeuUarity of this language, which is pot to be found in any other, 
is its haTii^ pre^rired» instead of declensions, a sign which distinguishes .the 
nominative and the Tocative from the other cases. In general the nominatiVe 
singular, has its termination in s, which b abandoned in the other singular 
cases ; whilst the nominative plural wants the «, and the other plural eases have 
it. Some words have their termination ia aUre in Uie nominativei and . in , odor 
in other cases : El lyobqire dufd Trobador-^the Troubadour said to the T^oa- 

t See M. Fabre D'Olivet, Preface to his Ptéaiei OccUmiqaes. ' 



TUi beanli&I langoage was eiLclosively employed, for a lopig 
time, in those compositioas to wbich it was so peculiarly appro- 
filiate — ID. amatory and martial soogs. The multitude of Proyen- 
(al poems which are extant, may be classed under one or the other 
^ t^ese. two divisions; and although they bear difieireot names» 
ttey all. of them equally belong to fte lyrical style of composition! 
■Love and war furnished the only occupation, the only delight of 
all the kings and soldiers, of the most powerful barons and the 
most humble knights of the o^e. Now kneeling at the feet of 
their mistresses,. whom they often addressed in language applica- 
ble only to the Deity, a^ now braving their enemies,, their veraes 
bear the double imprint of their pride of character and of the 
power of their love. The poems of the t^rovençals, according as 
they expressed the one or the other of these paaaions, were di- 
vided into ehcMzos and sirventeB, The object of the former was 
gallantry ; of the latter, war, politics, or satire. The structure 
of both was the same. The Provençal songs were, in general, 
composed of five stfinzas and an envoy. The form of the stanza 
was perifeotly regular, and often so untfiKrm, that the same rhyme 
was repeated in, the same place in each, stanza. These rhym<^ 
were distinguished, as in the< French, into masculine and feminine ; 
ibmt is to. say, into those accentuated on the last syllable, and those 
on, the penultimate ; and were dexterously interwoven, not so as 
to follow one another in the regular order of our poetry, but in 
such a manner that their disposition always produced a harmony, 
confbrmfd>ie to the sense of thé verse and the feelingii of the 
hearer. This original perception of. harmony afterw wis gave 
place, it is true, to the refinement of affecting to vanquish difficul- 
ties, and the Troubadours, by imposing upon themselves rules 
which were both ridiculous and difficult to obey, with regard to 
the return of the same rhymes, or of the same words at the ter- 
.BHuation of the verses, contracted a puerile habit of playyig with 
words, to. which they too often sacrificed both the idea and the 
sentiment. They displayed a more delicate and correct taste in 
the choice eC the different metres which they employed ; in the 
mixture lof long and short verses, from the heavy Alexandrine to 
the lines of one or two syllables ; and in the skilful use of the 
regular terminations in the Stanza. All our knowledge upon this 
subject is derived from thieir experience. It was they who invent- 
ed those varied measures of the stanzas, which give so much har- 
.mony to the canzoni of Petrarch. We are likewise indebted to 
tiiem for the forms of the French ode, and particularly for the 
'beaatiftil stanza. of ten lines, in one quatrain and two tercets, 
which J. 6. Rousseau has employed in his most elevated subjects. 
Some sonnets are also found in their language, but, at the same 
thne, it appears to me, that they are posterior to the earliest Ita- 
lian sonnets, and even to those of Petrarch. , Lastly, the balladi 
the first verse of which is converted into a burthen for the others. 


and in which the retarn of the same thought fM^odiiGes soch a 
graceful and pleasing effect, is of Provençal origin. 

it is my wish rather to familiarize my readers with the Trouba- 
dours themselves, and to make them acquainted with their poemsy 
than to detail the opinions which have heen entertained respect- 
ing them, and the romances of which they have heen the heroes. 
But of all the poems which it will be necessary for us to notice, 
these are the least likely to produce an impression in a transla- 
tion. We must not look, in them, for that wit and that faculty of 
invention, which in modern poetry shed such brilliancy upon the 
ideas, by ingenious contrasts and by happy reflections of light. 
Nor must we look for profound thoughts. The Provencals were 
too young a nation, they had seen too little, and they had not sufib- 
ciently analyzed and compared what they saw, to edtitle them to 
.lay any claim to the empire of thought. Invention seems to have 
been out of the question in so narrow a field, and in compositions 
which never dwelt on more than two sentiments. Their merit 
' entirely consists in a certain harmony and simplicity of expression, 
which cannot be transferred to another language. I havie there- 
fore been obliged, whenever i have wished to give an idea of their 
imagination and their sensibility, or of the charm and elegance of 
their style, to direct the attention of my readers to their personal 
character. It is not in my power to awaken, for their talents, an 
admiration which can only be felt by those who thoroughly under- 
stand their language ; but without judging of them as poets, their 
adventures may yet excite our interest. The connexion, between 
a romantic life and the wild imaginations of the poet, is not alto- 
gether ideal. Such of the Troubadours as were regarded as the 
most celebrated men of their day, were likewise those who had 
met with the most renowned adventures. The poet has always 
been a hero to his biographer. The latter has ever persuaded 
himself that the most beautiful verses were addressed to the most 
beautiful women ; and as time has passed away, our imaginations 
have invested the Troubadour knight with new glories. 

No one has experienced this good fortune in an equal degree 
with Sordello of Mantua,* whose real merit consists in the har- 
mony and sensibility of his verses. He was among the first to 
adopt the ballad- form of writing, and in one of those, which has 
been translated by Millet, he beautifully contrasts, in the burthen 
of his ballad, the gayeties of nature, and the ever-reviving grief 
of a heart devoted to love.j Sordel, or Sordello, was bom at 
Goïto, near Mantua, and was, for some time, attached to the house* 
hold of the Count of S. Bonifazio, the chief of the Guelph party, 
in the march of Treviso. He afterwards passed into the service 

♦ [See Pâmasse Occitanien, I. 145. TV. J 
t Aylaa e que m*fau miey huelh 
Quar no yezoa so qu'ieu Tueilhv 


of Raymond Bèresger, the last Count of Provence of the hon§e 
of Barcelona. Although a Lombard, he had adopted, in his com- 
positions, the Provençal language, and many of his countrymen 
itaiitated him. It was not, at that time, believed that the Italian 
W9S capable of becoming a polished language. The age of Sor- 
dello was that of the most brilliant chivalric virtues, and the most 
âtr(K:ious crimes. He lived in the midst of heroes and monsters. 
The imagination of the people was still haunted by the recollec- 
tion of the ferocious Ezzelioo, tyrant of Verona, with whom Sor- 
dello is said to have had a contest, and who was^ probably, often 
mentioned in his verses. The historical monuments of this reign 
of blood were, however, little known, and the people mingled the 
name of their favourite poet with every revolution which had ex- 
cited their terror. It was said that he had carried off the wife 
of the Count of S. Bonifazio, the sovereign of Mantua, that he 
had married the daughter or sister of Ezzelino, and that heliad 
fought this monster, with glory to himself. He united, according 
to popular report, the most brilliant military exploits to the most 
distinguished poetical genius. By the voice of Saint Louis him- 
self, he had been recognised, at a tourney, as the most valiant and 
gallant of knights ; and, at last, the sovereignty of Mantua had 
been bestowed upon this noblest of the poets and warriors of his 
age. Historians of credit have collected, three centuries after 
Sordello's death, these brilliant fictions, which are, however, dis- 
prpved by the testimony of contemporary writers. The reputa- 
tion of Sordello is owing, very materially, to the admiration which 
has been expressed for him by Dante ; who, when he meets him 
at the entrance of Purgatory, is so struck with the noble haughti- 
ness of his aspect, that he compares htm to a lion in a state of 
majestic repose, and represents Virgil as embracing him, on hear- 
ing his name. M. de la Curne de Sainte-Palaye has collected 
thirty-four poems of Sordello's. Fifteen of these are love-songs, 
and some of them are written in a pure and delicate style. Among 
the other pieces, is a funeral eulogium on the Chevalier de Bla-, 
cas, an Aragonese Troubadour, whose heart, Sordello says, should 
be divided among all the monarchs in Christendom, to supply them 
with the courage of which they stand in need. At the same time, 
We find among the compositions of Sordello, some pieces, little 
worthy of the admiration which has been bestowed upon his per- 
sonal character, and not altogether in accordance with the delicacy 
of a knight and a Troubadour. In one, he speaks of his success 
in his amiotiTS, with a kind of coarse complacency, very far re- 
moved from the devotion which was due to the sex from every 
cavalier. In another, he thus replies to Charles of Anjou, who 
pressed him to follow him to the crusade. '' My lord Count, you 
ought liot to ask me, in this manner, to affront death. If you want 
an expert seaman, take Bertrand d'Alamanon, who understands 
the winds:, and who wishes for nothing better than to be your fol- 
lower. Every one is seeking his salvation by sea; but, for my 


own part» I am not eager to obtain it. My wish b» to be trana- 
ported to another life as late as possible." In a tenions in which 
he is an interlocator, he sustains the least heroic side of the ques- 
tion. The Tensonsj or jeux partis, were songs, in dialogae, be- 
tween two speakers,* in which each interlocutor recited succes- 
sively a staoza with the same rhymes. The other party who in 
this tensanf disputes with Sordello, is the same Bertrand d'Alama- 
non, whom, as I have just related, he recommended as a crusader. 

<< SoiinEj:.Lo. If it were necessary either to forego the de- 
hgbt of lady-love, aud to renounce the friends whom you possess 
Qr may pofiusess, or to sacrifice to the lady of your heart, the ho- 
noqr which you have acquired, and may acquire, by chivàhy» 
which of the two would you choose ? 

<< Berthand. The mistresses whom I have loved, have de- 
spised me so long, and so little have I gained by them, that I can- 
not compare them to chivalry. Yours may be the folly of love^ 
the enjoyment of which is so frail. Still continue to chase the 
pleasures, which lose their value as soon as tasted. But I, in the 
career of armS| ever behold before me new conquests and new 

" SoRDEJLLO.. What is^ glory without love ? How can I aban- 
don joy and gallantry for wounds and combats ? Thirst and hun- 
ger, a burning sun or piercing frost, are these to be preferred to 
love Î Ah ! willin^y do 1 resign to you these benefits, for the 
sovereign joys which my mistress bestows. 

«< Bertrand. What ! dare you then appear before your mis- 
tress, if you. dare not draw your sword for the combat t Without 
▼alonr, there is no real pleasure ; it is valour which elevates man 
to the Jiighest honours, but love is the degradation and the fall of 
those whom he seduces. 

** SoRDEJULO. Let me but be brave in the eyes of her I love, 
and I heed not the contempt of others. From her, all my happi- 
ness flows ; I seek for no other felicity. Go then, overthrow 
your castles and your walls, while I enjoy the sweet Idsses of my 
mistress. You may gain the esteem of all noble Frenchmen ; bat, 
for my part, I prize more her innocent favours, t&an all the 
achievements of the lance. 

«( Bertrand. But, Sordello, to love without valour, is to de- 
ceive her whom you love. I would not wish for the love of her 
I serve, did I not at. the same time merit her esteem. A treasure, 
so ill acquired, would be my grief. Do you, then, be the protec- 
tor of the follies of love, whilst the honour of arms is mine ; since 

'*' [Sometimes, the interioeotors were more than two, in which ease it wae 
called a Tomeyamen. A specimen of this species Qf composition is given by 
M. Raynouaro, toI. iL p. 199* The interioeotors are, Savari di Mauleon, 
Hoaues de la Badielene, and Gaucelm Faidit* A paraphrase is citen by 
MiUot Tr.} 


you are so deluded as to place felse jojs in the balance against 
real happiness." 

This tenson may, perhaps, gt?e an idea of those poetical con- 
tcsts^ which were the great ornament of all festivals. When the 
haughty baron invited to his court the neighbouring Ibrds and the 
knights his vassals, three days were devoted to jousts and tour- 
neys, the mimicry of war. The youthful gentlemen, who, under 
the name of pages, exercised themselves in the profession of 
arms, combated the first day ; the second was set apart for the 
newly -dabbed ktiigbts ; and the third, for the old warriors. The 
lady ef the castle, surrounded by vonthfol beauties, distributed 
crowBS to those who were declared, by the judges of the combat, 
to be the conquerors. She then, in her turn, opened her court, 
constituted in imitation of the seignoriril tribunals, and as her 
baroa collected bis peers aroood him, when he dispensed justice, 
«o did she form her Court of Love, consisting of young, beautiful, 
«nd lively women. A new career was opened to those who 
dared the combat, not of arms but of verse, and the name of Ten- 
soriy which was given to these dramatic skirmishes, in fact sig- 
nified a contest.^ It frequently happened that the knights, who 
had gained the prize of valour, became candidates for the poetical 
iionours. One of' the two, with his harp upon his arm, after a 
prelude, proposed the subject of the dispute» The other then 
advancing, and singing to the same air, answered him in a stanza 
of the same measure, and very frequently having the same 
rhymes. This extempore composition was usually comprised in 
five stanzas. The court of love then entered upon a grave de- 
liberation, and discussed, not only the claims of the two poets, 
but the merits of the question ; and a judgtueat or arrêt-d^amaur 
was given, frequently in verse, by which the dispute was sup- 
posed to be decided. At the present day, we feel inclined to be- 
lieve that these dialogues, though little resembling those of Tity- 
ms and Melibasus, were yeU like those, the production of the 
poet -flitting at ease in his closet. But, besides the historical 
evidence which we possess of the Troubadours having been gifted 
with those improvisatorial talents, which the Italians have pre- 
«erv^d to the present times, many of the tensons extant bear 
evident traces of the rivalry and animosity of the two interlocu- 
tors. The mutual respect, with which the refinements of civi- 
lization have taught us to regard one another, was at this time lit- 
tle known. There existed not the same delicacy upon questions 
of honour, and ir^ury returned for injury was supposed to cancel 
all insults. ' We have a tenson extant^ between the Marquis 
Albert, Malespina and Rambaud de Vaqueiras, two of the most 
powerful lords and valiant captains, at the commencement of the 
thirteenth century, in which they mutually accuse one another of 

♦ [AccordlDg to Raynouard, it was derived ftgrn GonTKNTio.— 7V.J 
Vol. I. 10 

having robbed on the highway aad.jdeceived their alliefl by f«ilse 
oaths. We must charitably suppose, that the perpleiities of f e|r* 
sification and the heat of their poetical inspiration compelled Âem 
to orej^ook sarcasms, which they coold ûever hav|B sufferctd t9 
pass in plain prose. 

Hapy of the ladies, who sate in the Courts of Love, wereabl^ 
theiDsekes to reply to the verses which they inspired. A few <^ 
their compositions only remain, hot they ba?e always. the advaw- 
ts^e oyer those of the Tronbadonrs. Poetry, at that time, be- 
pired, neither to creative energy, nor to sublimity of tho^ghjL, nor 
to variety. Those powerful conceptions of genius which, at a 
later period, have given birth to the drama and the epic, were 
yet unknown ; and, in the expression of sentimentf a -tenderer 
and more delicate inspiration naturally endowed the productions 
of jfchese poetesses with a more lyrical character. One of the 
most beautiful of these songs is written by Clara d'Andusa, and is 
unwished. A translation is subjoined, which can give but little 
idea of a poem, the excellency of which so essentiijiy consists in 
the harmony of the verse.^ • 

Into what cruel grief and deep distress 

The jealous and the false have pLuoged my heart,. • 

Depriring it by e?ery treacherous art 
Of ad its hopes of joy and happiness : 
For they hare forced thee from my arms to fly, . 

Whom far aboFC this evil life I prize ; 

And they have hid Uiee from my loTixig eyes. 
'Alas ! with grief, and ire, and rage I die. 

ITetthey, who blame my passionate love to thee, 
Can never teach my heart a nobler flame, 
A sweeter hope, than that which thrills my frame, 

A love, so fall of joy and harmony. 

Nor is there one— no, not my deadliest foe. 
Whom, speaking praise of thee, I do not love, 
Nor one, so dear to me, who would not move 

My wrath, if from his lips dispraise should flow. 

* [The French prose translation given by M. de Sismondl, is by M. Fabre 
d'Olivet, Poésies (keiUmiques, vol. vii. p. 32. The original, which follows, is 
extracted from the Parwuae OecUanien, vol. i. p. 352. Tr,] 

En greu esmai et en greu peasamen 

An mes mon cor, et en fpranda error 

Li lauzengier el fais devmador, 

Abaissador de joi e de joven ; 

Quar Tos, qu ieu am mais que re qu'el mon sia 

An fait de me départir e lonhar 

hi qu' ieu nous pose vezer in remirar, 

Don muer de dol e d* ir' e de feunia. 

Cel que m blasma Toatr* amor ni m defen 
No podon far en re mon cor melhor, 
Ni'l dous désir qu 'ieu ai de vos mijor, 
Ni l'enveja» ni '1 dezir ni '1 talen. 



Fear not, fair love, mj beart shall evt^r fail 
^ In iu fond trutt— fear not that it will change 

Its faith, and to another loved one range ; 
No ! though a handred tonnes that heart aMafl— 
For LoTe, who ha« mj heart at his command. 

Decrees it shall be faithful found to thee, 

And it ëhail be so. Oh, had 1 been free, 
Thou, who hast all my heart, badst bad my hand* 

Love f so o'ermastering is my soul's distress. 

At not beholding thee, that, when I sing, 

My notes are lost in tears and sorrowing, 
Nor can my verse, ny heart's desires express. 


We have already said that the Sirvenies^ which C0B«titate the 
•ecood class of Provençal poems, were martial and political songs* 
At a period, when almost all the poets were knights likewise, and 
when the love of combats, and the infataation of dangers, were 
the prominent passions of the sonl, we naturally look to the mar* 
tial songs, for instances of the noblest mspiration. Thas, Guil- 
laume de Saint-Gregory, in an harmonious ntnente^ in stanzas of 
ten lines, like those of our odes, celebrates his lové df war, and 
aeems to feel the inspiration of the field of battle.* 

The beautiful spring delights me well. 

When flowers and leaves are growing : 
And it pleases my heart, to heav the swell 
Of the birds' sweet chorus flowing 
In the echoing wood ; 
And I love to see all scattered arottnd. 
Pavilions and tents, on the martial ground ; 
^ And my spirit finds it good 

E non es horn, tan mos enemies sia, 
Si 1 n'aujg dir ben, 4|ue no M tenha, en car ; 
.£ sp n ditz mal, mais no m pOt dir ni' far, 
Neguna re quez à plazer me sia. 

Ja nous donets, bels amies, espavèn 

Quez ieu ves vos aia cor trechador, -^ 

Ni queue camge per nul auti* amâdor' 

Si m pregavon d*autras domnas uii ceu'; 

Qu 'amors que m te per vos eu' da bàilia, 

Vol que mon cor vos estiQ'e vos gte ; 

E farai o : e s'ieu pogoes emblar 

Mon cors, tais V a que jamais no l 'aaria. 

Amies, tan ai d'ira e de feniiia 
<Stuar no vos vei, que quant ieu cug cantar 
Plang e sospir ; per qo' ieù no pose so far 
A mas coblas que '1 cor comptii* volria. 

* [This Strvenis is attributed by M. Raynouard to Bertrand dé Bom, Pcégies 
de Traubadaun^ ii. 209, and in the Pamatse OccUoMmf i. 65, w,here a different 
Torsion of it is given. The text is taken from NT. Rayhouard, and for the 
translation tho editor is indebted to the kindness or a friend. — 2V.] 



To see, on the lerel plains beyond. 
Gay knights and steeds caparisun'd.'^ 

It pleases me when the lances bold 

Set men and armies flying ; 
And it pleases me, too, to hear around 

TLe voice of the soldiers crying ; 
And joy is mine, 
When the castles strong besieged shake» 
And wails uprooted totter and quake. 

And 1 see the foemen join 
On the moated shore, all compass'd round 
With the palisade and guarded mound. 

* « 4( ♦ 

Lances and swords, and stained helms,- 
And shields dismantled and broken. 

On the verge of the bloody battle-scene, 
The field of wrath betoken ; 
And the vassals are there, 

'And there fly the steeds of the dying and dead ; 

And where the mingled strife is spread» 
.The noblest warrior's care 

Is to cleave the foeman's 'limbs and head. 

The conqueror, less of the living than dead. 

I tell you that nothing my soul can cheer. 

Or banqueting or reposing. 
Like Ûte onset cry of *' charge them" rung 
From each side, as in battle closing ; 

Where thç horses neigh, 
And the call to " aid* is echoing loud. 
And there, on the earth, the lowly and proud, 

In the foss together lie ; 
And yonder is piled the mingled heap 
Of the brave that scaled the trench's steep. 

^ Be m play lo douz temps de pascor. 
Que fai fiielhas e flôrs venir ; 
£ play mi quant aug la vaudor 
Dels auzels que fan retentir 
Lor chan per lo boscatge ; 
£ plai me qiian vey sus els pratz, 
Tendas e pavallos fermatz ; 

E plai m'en mon coratge, 
Quan vey per campanhas rengat:^ 
Cavallicrs ab cavals armatz. 

£ play mi quan li corredor 
Fan las gens els aver fhigir ; 

£ plai me quÂn vey aprop lor 
Gran ren d'armatz ensems brugir; 
£ ai gran alegratge, 

Quan vey fortz castels asseQatz, 

£ murs fondre e derolatz ; 
£ vey I'ost pel ribatge 

Qu'es tot entom claus de fossatz, 

Ab lissas de fortz pals serratz. 



Barons ! your castles ia safetj plwe, 

Your cities and villages, too, 
Before je haste to the battle scene : 

And, Papiot !'* qniekly go, 
And tell the Urd of *' Yea tmd AV»,"! 
That peace alreadjr too long hath been. 

This warlike ode is dedicated to Beatrix of Sa?oy, the wife of 
Raymond Berençer V. the last Count of ProFence. Beatrix was 
the mother of four queens, of France, of Germany, of England, 
and of Naples. Lik»* her husband, she was a great patroness of 
the Troubadours, aùd some verses of this illustrious couple are 

Atressi m play de bon senhor, 

Quant es primiers a I'eoTazir, 
Ab caval armat, çeatemor; 
G'aissi fai los siens enardir, 
Ab vallen vassailatge ; 
£ quant el es el camp intratz, 
Quascus deu estier aasermatz, 
E segr el d*agrada^, 
Quan nulhs bom-non es rea prexatt 
Tro qu'a manhs colps près e donatz. 

Lansas e brans elens de color, 
Escutz trancar e desguarnir, 
Yeyrem a Pintrar, de I'estor, 
£ manhs vassalhs ensems ferir 

Djon anaran a ratg^ 
Gavalhs dels mortz e dels nafratz ; 
£ la pus t'estorn er mesclatz, 

Negus hom d*aut parft%e 
Non pens mas d'asclar caps e bratz 
Que mais val mortz que vius sobratz. 

Je us die que tan no m'a sabor 
Maogars ni heure in dormir, 
Cum a quant aug cridar ; a lor ! 
D'ambas las partz ; et aug agnir ! 
Gavais vottz per I'ombratge, 
£t aug cridar . aidatz ! aidatz ! 
£ yei cazer per los possatz 

Paues e grans per I'erbatge; 
Ç vei los mortz que peb costazt 
Au los tronsons outre passatz. 

Baros, metetz en gatge, 
Gastels e vilas e ciutatz , 
Enans qHisquees no us guerreiatz 
Papiol, d'agradatge. 
Ad oc e no, ten vai viatz, 
Die li que trop estan en patz. 

* The name of the Troubadour's J<mgUwr, or page. 
t Richard Cœur de Lion. 

7Ô ait t^Ê iAiià*\i^^ 

still preserved, which dre wanting neither itf poetièaî skill nor in 
delicacy. The lines written hj tne countess are addressed to her 
lover, in which she reproaches him' wtth heing tok> Reserved and 
timid. For the honour of the princess, We fnttst sluppose that 
this reproach is a mere «ally of wif. 

But the war, of all others, most fitted to inspire a poet, was 
tde crasade. While thf; preachers, from every pnfpit, announced 
salvation to those who should shed> their hlood to deliver the t^mb 
of Christ, the Troubadours, who partook of tlie same enthusiasm, 
were still nîore sfrongîy influenced by the new and stratoge adlven- 
tiires which the fairy realms of the East promised tlîem. Their 
imagioatio ps wandered with delight over those romeirtie cou&^ie», 
and they sighed as well for the conquest of that terrestrial paradise, 
as forthat which was promised them in heaven. Many of them were, 
however, detained in Europe by the bonds of fove ; and the contests 
between these two passions, these two rehgtonB »f their hearts, 
frequently gave an interesting chai^aetéfl^ to the poems which were 
composed to animate the crusaders, 'f bis convict is no where 
more agreeably described than in a tenion between Peyrols and 
Lové. Peyrols was a knigi^ of slemher for^nne, fronr the peigh- 
boufhood of Roquefort in Auvergne.* Hii^ «distinguished talents 
for poetry introduced him to the court of the Dauphin of Auvergne. 
He there fell passionately in love with thé sister of that prince, 
the Baroness de Mercœur, and the Dauphin prevailed upon his 
sister to return the passion of his TroubadnuT, ill oTéer to encou- 
rage those poetical talents which were the oi^aàkent of his court. 
Neither the Baroness nor the Troubadour were able rigorously io 
preserve the strict bounds of a poetical attachment ; and Peyrols, 
who for a considerable time bad only eeiehrated, ih his verse, the 
cruelty of his mistress, af length sang thé victories akid the exul- 
tation of a happy lover. The Baron de Mercœur was offended. 
The Dauphin resented the injury which he believed his brother- 
in-law had sustained, and Peyrols was bani^^hed. Other attach- 
ments succeeded this first lève, which are also ee1et»rated in his 
verses. The preaching of the seéoiid crtisadè, changed, at once, 
his mode of life. The following is his dialogué with Love, the 
original ot which has been published by ÀI. Fabre d^Olivet, who 
has happily npngled in his '' Court <tf Le^e»'' maày ancient frag- 
ments with his own verses.* 

Love I I loDg ha?e been your slave, 

Till my heart is broken ; 
What is the reward I have ? 

Where, my duty's toloen 7 

* [Three poems by Peyrols are giyen in the Parnasse OecUanienf i. 88, and 
siiLin Raynouard,iii. 868.— 2V.] 

f [The original of this curious poem is not given by M. dé Sumondi* It is 
to be found with some variations, in the Parnasse (kcUanien, vol. i. p. 90. and 
likewise in Baynouard, iii* 870— TV.} 

op r^ fMp^^^çiQU^. 79 


Peyrols! can jyi^ t^ fp^VK 

That same b)io«npBg BMutr» 
Whom with si^ 4eUgbt y4iu oMj 

Swearing lore 9La4 dutj 7 
That's the way I paii^ the d^bt I 
Let me tell you, your light heart 

Tender thoughts disperses ; , 
When you act the's j]|irt 

You falsify jo\ir verses. 

Love! I've sti|l been true ^^ou, 

And if now I leave you, * 

Tis what I am forced to do ; 

Do not let it grieve you. 
Heaven wjill see me safely through ! 
leaven, too, make the kings agree ! 

Keep them both from ighting !. 
I^fl^ fiialadin ^eir foJly see 

W|^eh ip^ take delist in. 

Ipeyrols ! do the bes^ you will, 

You alone can't save it ; 
Bvery Turk you cannot kiH, 

T1|at storm* the Tower of David ; 
Her^ remain and sing your fill 1 
You're not wanted by the kings ; 

Stay then and amuse you, 
They're so fond of quarreliogs 

They cm weiU excuse yoo. 

Love { I've feU your power depart ; 

Though my fair one's tieauôr 
Lingers still about my he^rt. 

Yet I'll do my duty. 
Many a lover now must part ; 
Many hearts must now begin 

To fipel their sad griefs sprii^giog, 
Whhïh, but for cruel Saladm, 

Had joyously been singing. 

Peyrola d^d, in fact, visit the Holy Land,, and a siroente coot- 
posed by him in Syria, after the Emperor Frederic Barbarossa 
liad lost his life, and the Kings of Engljapd and France had aban- 
doned the crusade» is still preseryed. 

I have seen the Jordan river, 

I have seen the holy grave ; 
Lord * to thee my thanlu I render 

For the iiys thy goodness gave» 
Showing to my raptured sight. 
The spot wherein thou saw'st the light. 

Yessel good, and favouring breezes, 
' Pilot trusty, soon shall we 
Once more see the towers of Marseilles 
Rising o'er the briny .sea. 

Farewell, Acte ! farewell, all 

Of Temple or of Hospital ! 


Now, alas ! the world's decayîng^- 

When shall we once more behold 
Ekigs like lion-hearted Richard — 

ffiaoce's monarch, stout and bold'^ 
Montferrat's good Marquis — or 
The Empire's glorions Emperor I 

Ah ! Lord God, if you believed me. 

You would pause in granting powers 
Over cities, kingdoms, empires, 

Over castles, towns, and towers ; 
' For the men that powerful be 
Pay the least regard to thee.* 

The poem termiDates with a violent invective against the reign- 
ing Emperor. This was cansed b}p the treacherous conduct of 
Henry VI. who detained in his prisons Richard Cœur de Lion, 
when, on his return from the crosade, after having been ship- 
wrecked on the coast of Istria, he was seized, as he traversed 
Germany, in the disguise of a pilgrim, by Leopold, Duke of 
Austria, in 1192. Richard, who was the hero of the age ; who 
had humbled Taocred and Philip Augustus ; who, in a short space 
of time, had conquered the island of Cyprus, and had bestowed 
that kingdom on the unfortunate Lpsignan ; who had vanquished 
Saladin in a pitched battle, and had dispersed the innumerable 
armies of the East ; who had inspired such terror into the infidels, 
that his name alone was long the signal of affright ; who had re- 
mained, after the return of all the other sov4>reigns from the cru* 
sade, and had alone commanded the Christian host ; and who had 
signed the treaty, in virtue of which the pilgrims were allowed 
to accomplish their long journey to the Holy Sepulchre — Richard 
was equally dear to all the Crosses. They p^irdoned the vices 
and the ferocity, which were inseparable from thf manners of the 
age. They reproached him not with the odious massacre of all 
the prisoners whom he had captured from Saladin ; and, in short, 
they seemed to think that so much valour might dispense with 
all other virtues. But, above all, Richard was dear to the Trou- 
badours. Himself a royal poet and knight, he united in his own 
persoO all the brilliant qualities of the age. He was a bad son, 
a bad husband, a bad brother, a bad king ; but he was the most 
valiant and intrepid warrior in the arm^. His companions in 
arms loved him with a kind of idolatry. The devotion of Wil- 
Ham des Préaux, one of his followers, saved him, contrary to all 
expectation, from a Saracen prison. He was sleeping under the 
shade of a tree in Syria, with six of his knights, when he was sur- 
prised by a troop of the enemy. He had only time to mount his 

* [The Translator has beenunahle to discover the original of this Sinente ; 
the lines in the text are, therefore, only a yersion of the French prose trans- 


horse and defend himself with his accustomed bravery ; and four 
of his companions having fallen, he was dn the point of being taken 
prisoner, when William des Préaux, seeing his master's danger, 
exclaimed in Arabic, *< Spare me ! 1 am the King of England !" 
The Saracens, who had not suspected that a prisoner of such im- 
portance was in their power, threw themselves immediately on 
Des Préaux, that they might all claim a share in the capture, and 
paid no attention to Richard, who galloped away. Fauchet as- 
serts, that he likowise owed his liberty in Germany to the zeal of 
his minstrel, Blondel ; and this is the story which has been dra« 
matised. We cannot help regretting that this tale has been 
ranked among the apocrypha of history. Henry VI. according 
to Fauchet, carefully concealed the fact of his having detained 
the King of England as a prisoner, lest he should incur the ex- 
communication of the Crusaders. Blondel, who had been ship- 
wrecked with him on the coa^t of Istria, and who had sought him 
in all the fortresses of Germany, sang, beneath the tower in which 
he was confined, h ienson which he and Richard had composed in 
common. Scarcely had he finished the first stanza, when Richard 
commenced the second. Blondel, having discovered his mastery 
carried into England the tidingis of his captivity, and engaged his 
brother to treat for his ransom. If this tenson^ which delivered 
the King of England from captivity, had been preserved, it might 
have been some confirmation of an anecdote to which we are so 
willing to give credit. We do, however, possess a sirvente which 
be composed in prison, afler fiAeen months captivity.*- The 
uniform and maficoline rhymes, no doubt, augmented, to the ear 
of Richard, the melancholy of his verses. 

* It is not known in what language this song was oHginallj written, for the 
different manuscripts in wbicb we find it, with many variations, give it in the 
Provençal and Langue d'Oil. It seems to me an agreeable task to compare^ 
in the wor Js of the brave King Richard, the two languages which S0 long di- 
vided France between them. Below, I have giycn the two first verses in Pro- 
vençal, from a manuscript of M. de la Curne de Sainte-Palaye, and also the 
entire song in old French, together with the sixth stanza, and an envoy, from & 
manuscript in the Royal Library. 

Jà nul horn près non dira sa razon 
Adreitameu, se' come hom doulen non ; 
Mas per conort pot el faire canson. 
Prou ha d'auiicz, ma paûre son li don ! 
Honta y aiiran se por ma rebezon 
Souy fftÇh dos hivers prez. 

Or sachan ben miei hom e miei baron, 
Angles, Norman, Peytavin et Gascon, 
Qu yen non bai ja si paûre compagnon 
Que per avé, lou laissesse en prez on ; 
Faire reproch, eertas y eu voli non, 
Mas souy dos hivers prez. 

Vol. I. 11 ' 



Written during his imprisonment in the Tour Ténébreuse, or Black Tower. 

No wretched captive of his prison speaks, 

Unless with pain and bitterness of sool, 
Tet consolation from the Muse he seeks, 

Whose Yoice alone misfortune can control- 
Where now is each ally, each baron, friend. 

Whose face I ne'er beheld without a smile ? 
Will none, his sovereign to redeem, expend 

The smallest portion of his treasures vile? 

Though none may Mush that, near two tedious yM», 

Without relief, my bondage has endured, 
Tet know, my English, Noiman, Gascon peers. 

Not one of you should thus remain immur'd ^ 
The meanest subject of my wide domains, 

Had I been free, a ransom should hare found ; 
I mean not to reproach you with my chains, 

Tet still I wear them on a foreign ground ! 

Too true it is — so selfish human race ! 

*' Nor dead nor captive, friend or kindred find f ' 
Since here I pine in bondage and disgrace, 

For lack of gold my fetters to unbind ; v 

Much for myself I feel, yet ah t still more 

That no compassion from my «ubjects flows : 
What can from infamy their names restore. 

If, while a prisoner, death my eyes should clost ? 

) m in 

La! nus homs pris ne dira sa raison 
Adroitement, se dolantement non. 
Mais por effort puet-il faire chançon ; 
Moût ai amis, mais poure sont li don, 
Honte i auront se por ma reançon 
Sui ca dos y vers pris. 

•Ce sevent bien mi home et mi baron 
Tnglois, Normans, Poitevin et GascUn, 
Que je n'ai nul si pauvre oompaignon 
Que por avoir je lessaisse en prison. 
Je vous di mie por nule retraçon. 
Car encore sui pris. 

Or sai-je bien de voir certeinement 
Que je n'ai pu ne ami ne parent. 
Quand on me faut por or on por Prient, 
Moût m'est de moi, mais plus m'est de ma not 
Qu'après lor mort aurai reprochement 
Si longuement sui pris. 

N'est pas mervoUh, se j'ai le cuer dolent 
Quand mes sire nest ma terre en toment, 


Bat •mall if my suipriM, though great my grie^ 

To find, in spite of all bil solemn tows, 
Mt lands are ravaged by the Gallic ehtef, 

While none my eanse has courage to espouse. I 

Though lofty towers ohecure the cheerful day, 

Yet, through the dungeon's melancholy gloom, ! 

Ëind Hope, in gentle whispers» seems to say, 

** Perpetual thraldom is not yet thj doom.** ! 

Te ^ar companions of my happy days. 

Of Chail and Pensavin, aloud declare 
ThlDughoot the earth, in everlastiog lays, 

My foes against me wage inglorious war. 
Oh. tell them, too, that ne*er, among my crimes, 

Did breach of faith, deceit, or fhiud appear, 
That infamy wiH brand till latest times 

The insulta 1 rective, while captiva hare* 

Know, all ye men of Anjou and Touraine, 

And every bachMor knight, robust and brave. 
That duty, now, and love, alike are vain. 

From bomhr your sovereign and your friend to save 
Itemote flrom consolation, here I lie, 

The wretched capiive of a powerful foe, ' 
Who all your zeal and ardour can defy, 

Nor leaves you aught but pity to bestow. 

8'il U membrast de notre sacrement 
Que nos feismes à Deus communément, 
Je sai de voir que ja trop longuement 
Na seirie ca pris. 

Que sebent bien Angevin et Lorain, 
Al Bacheler qui or sont riche et sain, 
Qu^nneombrés suis loing d'eui en autre main, 
Fort moût m'iBideasent, mais il n'en vient grain 
De belles armes sont ore vuit et plain, 
Force que je suis pris. 

Mes compagnons que j'amoie et que j'am, 
Ces de Chacu, et ces de Percheram, 
Di lor chançon quil ne sunt pas certam, 
Conques vers eux ne vi faua cuer ne Tam, 
S'ils me guerroient il feront que vilam, 
Tant com je serai pris. 

Ôdntesse suer votre pris soverain, 
Vos saut et g^rt, al acunement claim, 

Et parce suis-je pria. ^ 

Je ne di mie a celé de cbartain 
- La mere Loeys. 

[The English translation given in the text is taken from Buroey's History of 
Music, vol. ii* p. 238. The original, as given by him, which frequently varies 
fron^ the copy in the foregoing note, is to be found in the preface to the RofM» 
^e la Twr Tenthreuse, printed at Paris in 1705. Tr.] 





We have only two strventes hy Richard, and the Second is not 
very worthy of remark. But a knight who was intimately con- 
nected with that monarch, and whose ungoverned passions had 
a powerful influence over the destiny of the royal family of Eng- 
land) Bertrand de Born,* Viscount of Hautefort, in the diocess of 
Périgeux, has left a number of original poems, which it is much to 
be regretted, have never been printed in the original language. 
The most ardent and impetuous of the French knights, he breathed 
nothing but war. . Exciting and inflaming the passions of his 
neighbours or of his superiors, in order to rouse them to combat, 
he agitated, by intrigues and arms, the provinces of Guienne 
duringtthe latter half of t)ie twelfth century, and in the reigns of 
the English monarchs, Henry U. and Richard I, In every new 
War in which he engaged, he animated his soldiers, encouraged 
his allies, and sustained his own hopes, by disburdening his mind, 
in a sirvente^ of those passions which had prompted him to take 
up arms. Having attempted to despoil bis brother Constantine of 
his share of their paternal inhertance, Richard Cœur de Lion, 
who was then on-ly Count of Poitou, took the latter under his^ 
protection ; and Bertrand de Born, on account of this war, com-' 
posed the first of those strventes, in which he has, with such truth, 
portrayed that inflexible soul which no dangers could cast down, 
nor an^ violence subdue. ** What," says he, '* are happy or 
evil days to me ? What are weeks or years ? At all times my desire 
is to destroy those who offend me. Let others embellish their 
mansions, if they will ; let them surround themselves with all the 
conveniences of life — but, for me, my sole desire is to collect 

lances and casques, and swords and hor$>e8 I an^i disgusted 

with the advice they give me ; and, by Jesus, I know not to whom 
to listen. They tell me i am imprudent in refusing p^ace, but 
were I to accept it, who is there that would not cidl me coward ?" 
At the conclusion of this war^ Bertrand (k Born, being irritated 
against Richard* who had ravaged his territories, attached himself 
to the eldest brother of that prince, Henry Duke of Guienne, the 
heir apparent to the crown of England. On ail sides, he roused 
the enemies of Richard, and formed powerful leagues against him, 
while with all the martial ardour of Tyrla&us, he sang anew the 
combats to which he was leading* hi» allies. ** Ventadour and Com- 
born, Ségur and Turenne, Montfort and Gordon, have made a 
league with Périgueux. The citizens labourât the intrenchment» 
of their towns. The walls are rising around them. Let me 
strengthen their resolution with a sirvente ! What glory awaits 
lis. .... Should a crown be offered me, I should blush not to 
enter into this alliance or to desert it." Being soon afterwards 

* [Thrcfe poems, by Bertrand de Born, are givei? in the Parnasse Occitaniai, 
Î. 65, two of which are Hkewise given b} Rajnouard^ i. 135. In addition to 
these, a number of other potims by Bertrand de Born, wilt be found in (be. 
fourth volume of M . Renouard's work, which has been recently published.— 7V.} 


sibaadotied by Henry, be composed a sirvente agaiiuit bim, and iid- 
dressed aootber to Ricbard, wbo, after baviDg besieged bim in bis 
castle, aad forced bim to capitulate, bad generously restored lo him 
his property. Shortly after this time, Henry died, in 1 183 ; and 
Berti'and, who had again leagued himself with him, and had en* 
gaged him in a second revolt against hi»< father, celebrated his 
praises in some sirventesy which breathe tbt; tenderest afft^ction. 
" I am devoured/' says he, *' with a grief, which will end but with 
my life. There is no longer any joy for me ; 1 have lost the 
best of princes. Great God! you have snatched him from the 
age, and our wickedness has but too well merited it. Noble 
Henry ! it was reserved for you, to be the king of the courteous and 
the emperor of the brave !*' The dt^ath of bis friend, the prince, 
left Bertrand exposed to great danger. Henry II. with the forces 
of two kingdoms, besieged the lord of a little castle in Hautefort. 
Bertrand defended himself to the last extremity, until the walls 
falling around him, he was taken priêoner with bis garrison. But, 
when be was led before the king, and reminded the monarch, by 
a single word, of the tender friendship which be had enjoyed with 
the young prince, the unfortunate father burst into tears, and in 
the name of the son whom he bad lost, restored to b»m his castle, 
hie fief, and his riches. 

These reverses could not discourage the high spirit of Ber- 
trand de Born. Scarcely bad he esdiped one dant;ei , when he 
provoked new enemies. He wrote many sirventes against Alfonso 
II. of Aragon, in which be endeavoured to excite his subjects to 
rebellion. He likewise took an active part in the war^beiweeu 
Richard and Philip Augustus ; and when it appeared to relax, be 
rekindled i^ with his verses, in which he alternately rou»ed the 
shame of the one sovereign or the other, by imputations of cowardice. 

This ardent warrior, whose whole life was spent in the field, 
was not, however, insensible to the pas^siou of love ; and her^ his 
success was not unworthy of his glory in arms. He was attached to 
Helen, the sister of King Richard, who afterwards married the 
Duke of Saxe, and was the mother of the emperor Otho IV. ^ 
Richard beheld with pleasure, his sister, celebrated by so valiant 
a warrior and so illustrious a Troubadour. Nor was Helen insensi- 
ble to the homage of a man, who was even more distinguished by 
his talents than by his rank. Only one Df the songs, which Bertrand 
composed in honour of this princess, has survived. It was written 
in the camp, at a time when the army was without provisions ; 
and the Troubadour endeavoured to forget his hunger, in poetry 
and love. He was afterwards passionately attached to Maenz de 
Montagnac, the daughter of the Viscount de Turenne, and wife of 
Taleyrand de Périgord. His love was returned, and he was re- 
cognised by the lady as her knight; but jealousy disturbed^ their 
enjoyments. To her, in order to exculpate himself from a charge 
of infidelity, he addressed a song, wbicltappears to possess much 
originality. It places before us the real knight of former times. 


all busied in war and the chase, the labour aod delight of our fathers, 
SQCcesMvelj appeal io^ to eTery thing thai it dear to him- in life, 
to every thiog which has be«B the study of his youth and of hie 
riper age, and' yet esteeming them all light in comparison with 

* I cannot bids from thee how auich I fear 
The whispers breathed by flatterers in thine ear, 
Against my faith. But turn not, oh ! I pray. 
That heart so true, so foitfaful, so sincere. 
So bumble and so frank, to me so dear. 
Oh lady ! tarn it not fh>m me away. 

So may I lose my hawk, ere he can spring» 
Borne from m> hand by some bold falcon^s wing, 
Mangled. and torn before my very eye. 
If every word thou utterest dost not bring 
Move joy to me than Fovtane's favournig, 
Qr all the biin another*8 love might bay* 

So, shield on neck, mid storm and rain, 
With vizor blinding me and sborten'd rem, 
And stirrups far too long, so may I ride. 
So may my trotting charger give me pain» 
So may the ostler treat me witb disdain. 
As they who tell those tales have grossly lied. 

' ''' The following is the original apology of Bertrand de Bom : — unfortunately, 
many of the verses have been corrupted by the transcribers, to the itûnry botir 
of the sense and the prosody. 

Jen m' aseoodk que mal non mier 
De so qu* ens an de mi dig lauzengier. 
Per merce' us ures c' om nom puezca mezclar 
Lo vostre cor fin Hal vertadier 
Humilz e franca e plazentler 
Ab mi ONma per messo^jas coaitar. 

Al premier get perdHeu mon esparvier, 
Qne'l m*au8tan al ponh faleon lanier 
Ë porton Pen qu'iel lor veya plumar. 
Si non am mais de vos lo cossirier 
No foa d'autra jausir lo desirier 
One 'm don s' amor ni' m retenh 'al colcar. 

Atttr' escondig vos farai pus sobrier, 
B non m' en puesc onrar, pus encombrier, 
S' ieu anc falli ves vos, veys, del pensar* 
Can serem sols en cambro dins vergier, 
Falham poders de vos mon companhier 
De tal guiza que nom puesc aiudar. 

Escut al col cavalq' ieu al tempier.. 
E port salât capairon traversier, 


When I approach the gaming board to phgri 
Maj I not torn a penny all the day, 

Î)r may the board be shut, the dice ankme, 
f the truth dwell not in me, when I say 
No other fair e'er wiled ray heart away, 
From her I've long desired nnd loved — from yov. 

Or, prisoner to some noble, may I fill 

Together with three more, some dungeon chlD» 

Unto each other odipus company ; 

Let master, servants» porters, try Aeir skiH, 

And use me for a tai^t if they will, 

If ever 1 have loved aught else but thee. 

So may another knight make love to you. 

And so may I be puizled what to do ; 

So may I be becalmed 'mid oceans wide ; 

May the king's porter beat me black and bine, 

And may I ûy ere 1 the battle view, 

As they, that slander me, have grossly lied. 

Bertrand de Born was reconciled to Maenz de Montagnac, by 
another celebrated woman of thnt time, Dane Natibors, or Tibei^ 
de Montaazier, herself a poetess, and one whose praisea bad fre- 
quently been sung by the Troubadours. Disgusted with the 
world, he, at last, retired into a monastery, where he died» after 

£ régnas brevs que non puesc alongar, 
£t estrueps loncs, e caval mal trotier, 
£t al ostal tniep irat lo stalier. 
Si no us menti quien o aves comtar. 

S' ieu per jaugar m' asset! al taulier 
Ja no y puesca baratar un denier. 
Ma ab taula presa non puesca intrar, 
Anz giet a dez lo reir azar derrier ; 
S' ieu mais autra dona am ni enquier 
Mais vos, cuy am, e dezir, e tem car. 

^ Senher sia ieu de Castel parsonier. 
Si qu' en la tor siam quatre parsonier^ 
£ l' un 1' autre noc aus pusiam amar, 
Anz m' aion obs tos temps albalestrier 
Metre, «irvens, e gaitas, e portier, 
S' ieu anc ai eor d' autra dona amar. 

Ma Don' aim lais per autre càvayer 
£ pueis no say a que m' aia meatier, 
£ falham vens quant iray sobre mar ; 
£n cort de Rey mi batan li portier, 
£b eneooha nstsa I' fogir primier. 
Si no us menti quien m' an ot encusar. 

A als envios se mentitz lauzengîer 
Pus ab mi dons m' aves eneombner 
Ben lauzera quen laisaretz estar. 


having assumeci the hahit of a Cistercian monk, fiat the history 
of the great men of. this age does not terminate with their liyes. 
The terrible actions of Dante, before whom they are, as it were, 
placed in judgment, seem to possess a sort of reality : and Ber- 
trand de Born, who, as a poet and {varrior, had played so brilli^t 
a part, and exercised such noxious influence over his contempora- 
ries, was not likely to be pas»«ed over in neglect, by the bard of 
the Divina Comedia, The poet, in fact, meets him in hell. He 
beholds, with hoi ror, a body advancing without a head, or rather 
holding its head by the hair, in its right hand. The severed head 
is raised by the hand, and thus addresses the poet : 


Now, behold 

This grievous torment, thou, who breathing goest 
To spy the dead : behold, if any else ' 

Be terrible as this. And that on earth 
Thou may'st bear tidinga of me, know that I 
Am Bertrand, he of Bofn, who gave King John 
The council mischievous. Father and son 
I set at mutual war. For Absalom 
And David, more did not Ahithopel, 
Spurring them on maliciously to strife. 
For parting those so closely knit, my brain 
Parted, alas ! I carry, from its souree. 
That in this trunk inhabits. Thus the law 
Of retribution fiercely works in me.'*' , 

Inferno, Cmio x xviii. 



M. de Sismondi has announced his intention of devoting his attention, 
hereafter, to the production of a similar work on the Literature of the North. 
He will, probably, there give an account of the poets who, in Germany, under 
the name of Minnesingers, were equally prolific with the Troubadours, during 
precisely the same sra. The emperors of the Suabian line were great patrons 
of the Muses. M. de Sisn^ondi has cited a little piece, usually attributed to 
Frederic Barbarossa^* Their connexion with Italy, Sicily, and Provence^ 
unites the German literature of that age so intimately with that of the south- 
ern dialects, that it would have been very desirable if all could have been 
brought under one view, to illustrate their mutual affinities and influences. 
So popular was the German Muse, that there are even instances of Italian 
poets composing in that language, as well as in the Provençal. 

In coiifparing the poetic merits of the Troubadours and Minnesingers, it 
seems impossible to avoid differing from the opinion expressed by M, de Sis- 
mondi, and awarding the pain» to the latter. Thpy partake very little of the 
metaphysical speculations, and refinements of the Troubadours, .while the har- 
mony and grace of their versification are {ire-eminent. ' The unbounded gayety 
with which it revels in the charms of nature, and; the spirit of tenderness and 
affection which it displays, give their poetry charms which very seldom adorn 
that of their rivals. 

The Translator trusts that he may be excused for adding two specimens of 
the lighter pieces of these "singets," for which, as well as for a few of the 
translations of the Troubadours, inserted in this work, he is indebted to the 
papers of a friend, who, for the purpose of bringing all the contemporary son^« 

8ten of thic age into one» USé^, 4k^ preMifôl;* Tolumê for pabiication. It is 
entitled ** Speeimens '8)BllN;te4 «ftd tnhéNtted front the lyric poetiy of the 
German Minnesingers or TroOMdonrs of the twelfth, thhrteenth, and fonrteentii 
centuries, illustrated by simitar. Sélections aind Translations ût>Di the Poets of 
lie Proren^al and other Southern Dialects.'* 

The following Song is the production of Dietmar f on Aste* 

There sate upon the linden tree 

A bird, and snng its strain e 
So sweet it sang, Uiat as I heard 

My heart went back again. 
It went to one rememberM spot. 

It saw the rose-trees grow, 
And Ihonght again the thoughts of lore 

Tkefe cherkh'd long ago. 

A thousand years to me it seems. 

Since by my fair I sate ; 
Yet thus to be a stranger long. 

Is not my choice, but fate : 
Since then I have not seen the flowers, 

Nor heard the bird's sweet song : 
Jàj joys hare all too briefly past, 

My griefs been all too long. 

The following Song of Earl Conrad of Khrehberg, is translated very closely t 
and in the same measure as the ori^al : 

May, sweet May, again is come ; 

May, that frees tiie land from gloom 

Children, children, up and see 

AM her stores of jollity ! 

O'er the laughing hedgerows' side 

She hath spread her treasures wide ; 

She is in the greenwood shade. 

Where the ni^tingale hat^ made 

Every branch and every tree 

Bing with her sweet melody : 

Hill and dale are May's own treasuresi 

Toutb, rejoice in sportive measures ; 

Sing ye ! join the chorus gay ! 

HaU this merry, merry May ! 

Up, then, children, we will go 

Where the blooming roses grow, 

In a joyftil company 

We the bursting flowers will see; 

Up ! your festal dress prepare ! 

Where gay hearts are meeting, there 

May hath pleasures most inviting. 

Heart, and sight, and ear delighting : 

Listen to the bird's sweet song, 

Hark ! how soft it floats along ! 

Courtly dames our pleasures share, 

Never saw I May so fair ; ^ 

Vol. I. 12 


Therefore, dancing wiU we go : 
Tooths rqoiee, the flowrets blow ; 

Sin^ ye ! join the chonis ny ! 

Hut this merry, merry Mi^ ! 

Onr manly youths, — ^where are they now 7 

Bid them up, and with ns go 

To the sporters on the plain ; 

Bid adieu to care and pain, 

Now, thou pale and wounded loTer I 

Thou thy peace shalt soon recoTor ; 

Many a laoghiog lip and eye 

Speaks the light heart's gayety. 

Lovely flowers around we find, 

In the smiling yerdure twined. 

Richly steep'd, in May dews glowing \ 

Youths ! rejoice, the flowers are blowing ; 

Sing ye ! join the chorus gay > 

Hail Uiis merry, merry May ! 

Oh, if to my lore restored. 
Her, o'er all her sex adored, 
What supreme delight were mine! 
How would Care her sway resign ! 
Merrily, in the bloom of May, 
I would weave' a garland gay ; 
Better than the best is she 
Purer than all purity ! 
For her spotless self alone, 
I will siog this changeless one ; 
Thankful or unthankful, she 
Shall my song, my idol, be. , 

Youths, then, join the chorus gay ! 

Hail this merry, merry May i 

[91 ] 


On «ome of tlw more eelcbntod TtoubAdonn. 

In examiDtng the literatare of Provence, we have not the same 
adfantages which we enjoy in inqoiring into that of other conn- 
tries. We are not directed, by pabltc opinion, to a few celebrated 
authors ; to a few compositions, which have been ranked among 
the masterpieces of the human intellect. All the Tronbadonrs, on 
the contrary, ha^e nearly an equal title to fame. We find them, it 
is true, divided into two ?ery distinct classes ; the Troubadours, «ad 
the JongUurt or minstrels. But it is in their rank rather than in 
their talents ; in their employment rather than their renown, that 
the distinction consists. The Troubadours, as their name imports, 
were men 9m trouvaùmt^ who composed, new poem» : just as the 
Fo€t$y a name which has passed, from the Greek, into all other 
languages, were those who made or created : for at the origin of 
poetry, invention was always considered as the essence of the art. 
The Troubadours often themselves sai^ their treuves in courts and 
festivals, but more frequently these were sung by their Jotigleurs. 
It was the duty of the latter, who were altogether of an inferior 
rank, to entertain the companies into which they were admitted» 
by the recitation of tales and verses which they had learned, and 
which they accompanied on different instruments, and even by 
juglgling tricks and buffoonery. £ven though thus degraded, they 
learned to compose verses, in imitation of those which they recited 
from memory. The Provençal poetry was founded 00 the senti- 
ment of harmony, and required no previous knowledge in the 
poet ; and those, therefore, who lived by reciting verses, soon 
learned to compose them. Thus the corruption and degradation 
of the Jongleurs, who, as soon as they began to rhyme themselves, 
assumed the name of Troubadours, contributed, more than any 
thing else, to the destruction of the fraternity. Giraud de Calan- 
soD, a Troubadour, or rather a Jongleur, of Qascony, has given, in 
a curious sirveniey the following advice to a Jongleur. 

He tells htm that he must know how to compose and rhyme well, 
and how to propose AJeupartL He must play 00 the tambourine 
and the cymbals, and make the symphony resound. To throw and 
catch litde balls, on the point of a knife ; *to imitate the song of 
birds ; to play tricks, with the baskets ; to exhibit attacks of cas- 
tles, and leaps (no doubt, of monkeys) through four hoops ; to 
play on the citole and the mandore ; to handle the claricord and 
the guitar ; to string the wheel with seventeen cords, to play oa 
tbe harp, and to adapt a gigue so as to enliven the psaltry, are in^ 



dispensable accomplishments.* The Jonglear mast pre|Mire nioe 
instruments with ten chords, which, if he learns to play well, will 
be sufficient for his purpose ; and he mast know how to soond the 
lyre and the bells. 

After an enumeration of the romances and the tales, which thé 
Jongleur ought to be able to recite, the poet teUs him, that he 
must know how Loye runs and flies, how be goes naked and an* 
clothed, and how he repulses Justice with his keen darts, and his 
two arrows, one of which is made of dazzling gold, and the otiber 
of steel, which inflicts wounds so deep that they cannot be healed* 
He mast learn the ordinances of Loye, its priTileges and remedies ; 
and be able to explain its different degrees ; how rapid its pace ; 
on what it Ityes ; how it departs ; the deceptions it then ezerckes ; 
and how it destroys its worshippers. He then telU him, that» 
when he knows all this, he must seek the youngking of Arag^, 
for that no one can better appreciate such accomplishments ; and 
that if he there plays his part wel^and distinguishes himself among 
the foremost) he will have no occasion to complain oi that bo« 
narch'« want of liberality. And lastly, that if he does not rise 
above mediocrity, he will deserve an angraciood reception firom 
the best prince in the world. 

Bat whilst Giraud de Calanson, in this nroentey prepares the 
Troabadoars for the lowest arts and the most degrading ocoipa- 
tioDs, other poets felt and expressed a lively indignation at the 
decay of this sublime art, and at the corruption of taste and the 
confosion of ranks, which gave the name of Jongleurs to men who 

* [It ic difficult to determine what was the nature of all tbew farioosmaii- 
eal idfltnunents. The gigne ieems to be unknown. Boniey, flist. qf JtftMie» 
T(d. ii. p. 270. The mandore was a species of lute, about two feet long, and 
strune with four chords. The manicord, or claricorde, was a sort of spinet re- 
sembling the Tirginals, and is said, by Scaliger, to be more ancient than the 
barpsicoyrd or the spinet. The psaltij is described by Bumey, toI. i. p. 519. 
and in the JBtsot sur la iMunque, roL i. p. 302. Bi^ey likewise gire» a frag^ 
neaty in which all the accomplishments of a Jon^eur are catalogued. 

" All the minstrel art I know ' 

I the viol well can play ; 
I the pipe and syrinx blow, é 

. Harp and gigue my hand obey ; 
Psaltry, symphony, and rote, 

Help to charm the listening throng, 
And AJrmonia lends its note 

While I warble forth ray song. 
I ha?e tales and fables plenty. 

Satires, past'rals, full of sport. 
Songs toVielle Pve more than twenty. 

Ditties, too, of every sort. 
I from lovers tokens bear, 

I can flowery chapletf weave. 
Amorous belts can well preiiare. 

And with courteous apeech deceiir»«''.^7V.l 



played legerdemain trickt and exhibited ape». Crirand Riquier 
and Pierre Vidal have both expressed the same sentliiients. 

Among the Troubadours, some were raised above their fellows, 
less by their talents than by the distinguished rank which they 
held in society* In the number of those whose manuscripts have 
been collected by M. de la Cume de Sainte-Palaye, and analyzed 
by Miilot^ we find several sovereigns, the first of whom ia Wil- 
liam IX. Count of Poitou and Dqke of Âcquitaine. Nine of bia 
compositions* in verse have been preserved, remarkable for the 
harmony of their versification and for the elegant mixture of their 
measures and rhymes. His life was divided between devekion to 
the ladies and to religion, for he was engaged in the first cruaafc. 
In the midst of the Holy War he still preserved his gay and some* 
what licentious huâiour ; and in his verses, we find traces of hi» 
love, hia pleasures, and his devotion. We have already mea» 
tioned tito sirventes of Richard I. of England. There is likewise 
a love-song of Alfonso II. of Ars^on, one of the most illustrions 
warriors of the eleventh century, an age fertile in great men. 
We also possess many other poems, both political and amatory» 
by the Dauphin D'Auvergne, the Bishop of 'Clermont, fotd the 
last Count and Countess of Provence, Raymond Berenger Y» 
and Beatrix ; by Peter III. of Aragon, the celebrated instigator of 
the Sicilian Vespers, and by his youngest son, Frederic IL. the hero 
and the avenger of the Sicilians. The works of these sovereigns 
merit our observation as historical monuments, which thrown 
light on the interests by which they were governed, on theiv 
personal character, and on the manners of the times in which 
they lived. In a literary point of view, however, there were but 
few Troubadours, whose names were still renowned, at the period 
when Dante and Petrarch flourished ; and to these we shall now 

In the first rank, we shall place Arnaud de Marveil ; akhoqgb 
Petrarch ^ in giving the preference to Arnaud Daniel, calls the 
former %l men famoso Amaldo, He was born at Marveil, in 
Perigord, in an humble rank of life, from which his talents for- 
tunately raised him ; and he was attached to the court of Roger 
IL Viscount of Beziers, called Taillefer. The love which he 
conceived for the wife of his master, the Countess Adelaide, 
daughter of Raymond V. Count of Toulouse, was the means of 
developing his talents and directing the destiny of bis life. His 
versification is easy, and full of nature and tenderness. Among 
the Provencals he well deserves to be called the Great Master of 
Love, a name which Petrarch has reserved for Arnaud Daniel. 

All I behold recalls the memory ' 
Of her I lore* The freshness of the hour, 
Th* enameilM fields^ the many coloured flower, 

Speaking of her, more to me melody. 


UêA not the poeti, with that courtly phrase, 

8«lat«d meny a Tair of meaner worth, 
I coafd not now have render'd thee the praise 

So justly doe, of " Fairest of the Earth.*» 
To name thee thus had been to speak thy name. 
And waken, o'er thy cheek, the blush of modest shame.* 

Arnaud de Marveil, when exiled from Beziers, by the jealonajr, 
not of the hasband of the lady he loved, but of a more illustrioa» 
and happy riTal, Alfonso IX. King of Castile, thus delicately 
sang the torments of absence. 

''They tell me that the heart is only touched by the interven- 
tioD of the eyes ; but I, though I see not the object of my passion, 
am but the more deeply sensible of the loss I have sustained. 
They may bear h^r from my presence, but they can never untie 
the knot which attaches my heart to her. That h^art, so tender 
and so constant, God alone divides with her; and the portion 
which God possesses, he holds a» a part of her domain, if God 
tould be a vassal^ and hold a fief. Happy scenes, in which she 
dwells ! when shall I be permitted to revisit you ? When shall I 
behold some one who comes thence ? A herdsman from thence 
would be a noble in my eyes. Oh ! that I inhabited a desert, 
were she but with me ! That desert should then be my paradise." 

Arnaud de Marveil has left many poems, some of which are 
very long.j One of his pieces contains four hundred verses, and 
many of them, two hundred. His language i» clear and easy, and 
his text appears to have suffered but little alteration. He is, there- 

* [The Translator has been unable to discover the orig;iQal8 of this, and of 
ihe following extracts. A translation of the first is gi?en by M. Raynourd. 
Tol.ii. p. jLxiT. Tr,\ 

t [A number of his poems are given by "Rv^iMmma^ iir. 199, and in the PmnatMe 
Oeottonten, i. 16. As the specimens of this poet, given by M. de Sismondi, 
aie so very short, the insertion of the following lines, for which the Translator 
is indebted to the kindness of a friend, will perhaps be excused. The original 
mfy be found in RayiwnuiTd, iii. 208. — Tr.] 

Oh ! bow sweet the breeze of April, 

Breathing soft as May drawa near ! 
While, through nights of tranquil beauty, 

Songs of gladness meet the ear : 
■Every bird his well-known language 

Uttering in the morning's pride, 
Revelling in joy and gladness 

By bis happy partner's side. 

When, around me, all is smiling. 

When to life the young birds spring. 
Thoughts of love, I cannot hinder. 

Come, my heart inspiriting — 
Nature, habit, both incline me 

In such joy to bear my part : 
^ With such sounds of bliss around me 

'Who could wear a sadden'd heart 1 


fore, a Troabodonr whose works might be sepanitdy printed, to tiy 
the taste of the public for Proyençal poetry» apd at the same time 
to gratify the wishes of the learned throngboat allEorope» who re- 
gret the loss of these monuments of oar earliest Uteratnre and ci- 
▼ilization.* The Conntess of Beziers died in 1201, and there is 
reason to believe that Arnaad de Marreil died before her. 

Next to a Troubadour, who sang nothing but lore, we shall place 
9 Taliant knight, who acquired as much glory by his sword as bj 
his lyre. Rambaud de Vaqueirast was the son of a poor knight, 

Fairer than the far-famed Helen, 
Lo?elier than the flow'rets gay, 
Snow-white teeth, and lips truth-telliog, 
; Heart as open as the daj ; 

* Golden hair, and fresh bright rosea, — 

Heaven, who formed a thing ao fair, 
Knows that never yet another 
Lived, who can with her compare» 

* I'he foHowing commencement of an epistle from Araand de llarTeO to MSh 
mistress, possesses beauty, grace, and sensibility : 

* Cel cue TOs es al cor pus près 
Don^am preguet qu' ens saludes. 
Sel qu'eus amet pus anc nos ri 
Ab franc cor et bumil e fi ; 

S que antra non pot amar. 
Ni auia ?os merco clamar, 
£ Tien ses. joy ab grant dolor ; 
Sel que non pot son cor partir 
De Ton sin s* ahia a morir ; 
Sel que tos tempe vos amara 
May c' autra, tan can vioTra, 
. Sel que ses vos non pot aver 
En est segle Joy ui plazer, 
Sel que no sap cosselh de ee 
Si ab vos non trcfea merce, 
Vos saluda ; e vostra lauzor, 
Yostra beqtat, vostra valor, 
Vostre solatz, vostre parlar, 
Vestr* aeulhir e vostr* onrar, 
Vostre pretz, vostr* eastahaaien, 
Vostre saber, e vostre sen, 
Vostre gen cors, vostre dos riz, 
« Vostra terra, vostre pays. 

Mas Ferguelh qae avets a Ivi 
Volera l^n ayzas ad aitrui : 
Qnd eiguelh Dona e Pespavens, 
* Quel fezes lestai marriinens 

C* anc pueys non ai joy ni deport, 
Ni sap en cal guizas conort ; 
Mas lo melhos conort qae a 
Es car sap que por vos mom, 
£ plaits li nuds morrir per vos 
Que per autra vivre joyoz. 

tlFlva poems, by this anthorv are given in the Pamasat OeeUm/ âm , i. 75« anil 
three, in Raynouardf iii. 256, One of the poems is to be found in bothp— 2V.) 

#6 ^IT ^Bî& LlfEkAftjUE 

et tte pttecipahty of Orange. He att^èbéÉ hMsOf, hi Hb yi^% 
to the pereoQ of Wifliam de Bdtix, Brat prince of Orange, wtthin 
whose allegiance he was born. Wbildt he acte^ the part of a H' 
liant soldier beneath that prince's banners, he al the Same time 
Celebrated his Tictories, and attacked his eneokfes in ^his versieSy 
commemorating even the trophies which he bore away ih'the to«i#- 
nays. From the service of the Prince of Orange, Va^èeitas passed 
fhto that of Boniface III. Marquis of Montferrat, who led, with 
Baldwin and Dandolo, the fourth cmsade, and who, after havhlg 
d i sp nted the throne of Constantinople! was raised to ihatef Tfaes* 
aalonica. By Boniface, Vaqueiras was dabbed a knight. That 
excellent jadge of bravery and military talent, bestowed many ho- 
nours on the poetical warribr, who had rendered him such impor- 
tant services in his various wars* He beheld with pleasure, Ks 
attachment to his sister Beatrix, anid he himself took the trouble 
of reconciling them, after a seric^ds quarrel. Vaqueiras composed 
many chanios in honour df Beatrix, whom he called his Bel Cava* 
lier, from having once seen her gracefully managing ^ sword* In 
these verses, we find the impression of the inanly haughtiness and 
loyalty of his character. But all love-poems lose their identity, 
when translated into prose, aiid, perhaps, are all equally tiresome. 
Vaqueiras was more remarkable for his warlike iiàagination. The 
preaching of the third crusade inflamed him with new enthusiasm. 
He sang the Holy War in a sirventi^ addressed to his princely pro- 
tector and friend, when, on the death of the Count of Champagne 
in 1204, the former was chosen leadet of the Christian forces. 

** It is clear that God delights to recompende the brave* He 
has raised the reputation of the Marquis of Montferrat so high 
abave the most valiant, that all the crusaders of France and 
Champagne have demanded him from heaVen, as the man best 
^ qualified to recover the holy sepulchre. This brave marquis» 
God has giVen him courageous vassids, a large territory, and great 
riches, to ensure him success. 

" He who made the air, the heavens, the earth, the sea, the 
heat| the cold, the rain, and the thunder, wills that we should pass 
the seas in his train, as the Magi, Gui, Gaspard, and Melchior, 
sought Jerusalem. May St. Nicholas guide our fleet ! May the 
Champagners raise their* banner ! May the marquis cry, Mont- 
ferrat ! May the Count Baldwin cry, Flanders ! May every one 
strike so stoutly, that swords and lances may afaiver, and we shall 
> soon put the Turks to flight. ~ May the brave King of Spain ex- 
tend his conquests over the Moors, while the marquis carries on 
the campaign, and besieges the Saracen. 

Envoy. *< Fair knight, for whom I compose fhese verses and 
songs, I know not whether, for you, I shall assume or quit the 
cross ; 80 much you please me when I see you, and so much I aof^ 
fer in your absence." 

Vaqhéit^às fallowed the Marquis Bohifice ibtio Oréèeè, and 
combated, like a brave cavalier, by his side, before the palace of 


Blachernae, and^^erwards at the assault ofConfltatitinopIe. Af- 
ter the diTisioD of^ the Greek empire, be followed Boniface into 
his kingdom of Thessalonica, and received from him fiefs, seigno- 
ries, and other magnificent rewards. Still, ambition could not 
make him forget his love : and in the midst of bis conquests in 
Greece, he thns bewailed his absence : 

" What avHii my conquests, my riches, and my glory ! How 
much richer was L when I was loved, myself a faithful lover! I 
know no other pleasures than those of love. U8<>less are all my 
goods and my lands, and the more my power and riches increase» 
the more deeply does my heart feel its distress, parted from my 
Fair Knight."* 

But, by far the most curious poem by Vaqueiras, is that in 
which, retracing the history of his own life and of that of Boniface, 
the dangers they had confronted in common, the services they had 
rendered, and the conquests they had made, he demands, with 
Aohle confidence, the recompense due to his fidelity and his valour. 
I regret that this poem is too long for insertion, since no produc- 
tion of the kind bears a deeper impress of the chivalric character 
of that faithful vassalage, which did not chill friendship, and of 
that subordination, which did not hinder the souls of both lord and 
Tassai from attaining the same elevatioUé Vaqueiras praises his 
master, as he recalls his victories and dangers. He brings to mind 
their numerous adventures in Piedmont, in the states of Genoa, in 
Sicily, and in Greece, where he was ever by his side ; and he 
frankly claims a portion of the s^lory and the gratitude which were 
doe to him. The following anecdote, which he relates among 
others, seems to give a good picture of the manners of the 
times : — 

** Do yon remember," says he, ** the Jongleur Aimonet, who 
brought you news of Jacobina, when she was on the point of being 
carried into Sardinia, and married to a man she disliked ? Do you 
also remeaiber how, on bidding you farewell, she threw herself 
into your arms, and besought you, in such moving terms, to protect 
her against the injustice of her uncle ? You immediately ordered 
five of your bravest esquires to mount. We rode all night, after 
sapper. With my own hand I bore her from the domain, amidst 
an universal outcry. They pursued us, horse and foot ; we* fled, 
at full speed ; and we already thought ourselves out of danger, 
when we were attacked by the knights of Pisa. With so many 
cavaliers pressing close upon us, so many shields glittering around 
us, and so many banners waving in the wind, you need not ask us 
whether we were afraid. We concealed ourselves between AI- 
*benga and Final, and, from the place of our retreat, we heard on 

* [The translator has been unable to discover the original of these two frag^ 
meats. He has, therefore, given a prose tnmslation only of the French prose 

Tor.. I. 13 


dl sides th^ sounds of horn and clarion^ and the signal cries of 
parsnip* Two days we remained, without meat or drink, and 
when on the third day» we recommenced oor journey, we en- 
countered twelve banditti, and we knew not how to conduct ouf" 
selves ; for to attack them on horseback was impossible. I di^-* 
mouoted, and advanced against them on foot. 1 was wounded by 
a hince $ but 1 disabled three or four of my opponents, and put 
the rest to flight. My companions then came to my assistance ; 
we drove the robbers from the defile, and you pasf^sd in safety. 
Tou, no doubt, recollect, how merrily we dined together, although 
we l^ad only a single loaf to eat, and nothing to drink. In the 
evening we arrived at Nice, and were received by our friend 
PuicUir with transports of joy. The next day you gave Jacobina 
in marriage to Anselme, ^nd recovered for him his county of Vin« 
timigÙa, ^n spit» of his uncle, who en4^avoured to despoil him 
of it.'' 

Ti|e Marquis Boniface III., of Montferrat, was slain in 1907» 
at tbf» siege of Satalia. We are not informed whether Vaqqeira^ 
survived him. *' 

Pferre Vidal pf Toulouse, a Troubadour who followed King 
Rich^d to the ihird crusade, was no lesfs celebrated for his extra- 
vagant actions than for bis poetical talehts. Love and V9nit7^ 
among tbe poets, seem by turns to assume such an empire over 
the ifeeling», as almost to shake the reason. None, however, 
hay^ |)een known to display more perfect madness than Pierre 
Vidal. Persuaded that he was lieloved by every lady, and that 
he waci the bravest of all knights, he was the Quixote of poetry. 
His ridiculous amours, and his extravagant rbodomobtades, height^ 
ened by the treacherous pleasantries of pretended friends, led 
bind into the strangest errors. During the crusade, (^e w;^ per- 
suaded, at Cyprus, to marry a Greek lady, who asserted that she 
was allied to pne of the families which bad filled the throne of 
Consiantinoplp ; and this circumstance furnished him with su£^- 
cient grounds for believing that he was himself entitled to the 
.purple. He assumed the title of Emperor, and bestowed that of 
Empress upon his wife. He had a throne carried before bin», 
and he destined the produce of bis savings and his songs, to assist 
him in the conquest of his empire. Notwithstanding this afiiiir, he 
still remained much atts^ched to the wife of Barrai des B«ux, Via« 
count of Mcirseilles, whom he bad selected as the lady of his 
thoughts, and to whom, from Cyprus, he addressed some verges 
remarksible for their harmony. On his return into Provence, a 
new amour led him into a still wilder piece of extravagance. £(e 
fell in love with a My of Carcassonne, called Louve de Penaqtier, 
and, in honour of her, he assumed the surname oiLoup. To give 
himself a better title to the appellation, he clothed himself in a 
wolf > dun, and persiiaded the shepherds to chase him, with d^p, 
over the mountoins. He had Uie perseverance to sofier this 
strange pursuit to the last extremity, and was carried half dea4 te 

9P tM tROt7BAIK>UA8. M 

hiê nittrets, wlio wsm not mucb moved by so singular a piece of 
di^otioD\. Yet, with a head apparently so badly organized, Pierre 
Vidal possessed a» eiqutsfte sensibility, and great barmony of 
style ; stud what will appear still more strai^e, a sound and heafthy 
yadgmem on all matters not relating to his own vanity, or to his 
own attacbments. The collection of his works contains more 
ftham^ sixty pieces, and among them, three long poems of the kind 
to whieh the Provencals gave the simple appellation oi tenet. The 
most remarkable of the three is that, in which he gives adVice to a 
TroQbadonr, as to the mode of exercising his noble proiSession.^ Po- 
cftry, he considers Ui be the cnltivatton of high sentiment, the 
storehouse of universal philosophy, and the Troubadours to be 
the instructers of natrons. He recalls the glorious days of his 
youth, when beaten permitted alt Europe to be governed by* be^ 
ro^s : when Ckrmany pOsiiessed the Emperor Frederic I. ; Eng- 
land, Henry IL and hib three sons ; Toulouse, Count Raymond ; 
and Catatonia, Go«mt Berengef and his son AlfoQBo. He shows 
how poetry «^as the common bond of union among these herbes, 
and he declares it to be his belief, that it is the duty of the Jon^ 
gle^rs to awaken, in the next generation, the high sentiments 
Wbifch had been tbe glory of their fathers. He inculcates, at the 
«ame time^, maxims ^ modesty, decency, and morality, honoura- 
Me alike to his character and to his judgment : thus displaying a 
nobiliQr ol language, and a depth of thought, strangely at variance 
mth the extravagance of bis conduct. 

Another of his vetset^ or long poems, is a new allegory in which 
tàe principal personages whom he introduces are Love, Mercy, 
Modesty, and Loyalty ; some of the allegorical beings, which thé 
East had given- to the IProvençafs, and such as afterwards figured 
in the Triumphs of Petrarch. The poet relates, that once, when 
he was in the country, he saw a young cavalier, fair as the morn- 
ing, advancing towards him, with whose mien He was onatquaint- 
ed. His eyes were soft and tender ; his nose was beautifully 
ftrmed; his teel^, shining like the purest silver ; his mOuth, bloom- 
ing and smiling, and his figure, slight and gracefiil. His robe was 
embroidered with flowers, and bis head was .adorned with a crown 
of roses. His palfrey, which was white as snow, was marked 
Ivtih spots of blaek and purple. His saddle-bow was of jasper, his 
honsibgs were of sappbire, and the stirrups, of chalcedony. Ad- 
dressing himself to the poet, he ssâd, *' Know, Pierre Vidfd, tbal 
I am Love ; this lady is called Mercy ; that damsel is Modesty ; asid 
nay e«piirethe#e, is Loyalty. '' This poem proves that the Love 
of the Provencals was not Cupid, the son of Venus, and( that these 
romantic allegories are not borrowed from the Paga» mytbok^. 
The CavalUr love otFiette Viddt, is clothedin the costume of the 
chtvidric age, whicb gave him birth. His palfirey is described 

I | 1 II ^ ■ " ■ ■■- ' 'l lTIlttil • • -■' 



* The whole poem is tnuulatêa by JiHHot^ vol* ii* p* 983^ 

100 QIS Ta« ItlTfiftATURK 

with the same minuteness as his own person. His suite is' eoiil-' 
posed of the chivalric virtues, and not of joys and smiles. The 
whole idea hears the character of another age. Love, indeed^ 
among the poets of the East, was mounted in a manner, very dilSer- 
ent from that, in which our Troubadour represents him. Most 
frequently, he was seated, by them, on the wings of a parroquet ^ 
whence the Provencals, in imitation of the Arabians, have oftea 
introduced that richly plumaged bird into their songs, as the mes- 
senger of Love. 

it is said, that Pierre Vidal, in his old age, wrote a treatise On 
the art of holding one's tongue. He made a second voys^e to the 
Levant» where we are assured he again indulged the ridiculous 
idea of becoming Emperor of the East, then under the dominion of 
the Latins. He died in 1229, two years after his return. 

We have seen that Petrarch gives the first rank apaong the 
Troubadours, to Arnaud Daniel, whom he places above Arnaud de 
Marveil. Dante pays him no less a compliment, in his treatise 
De Vulgari Eloquentiâ» He looks upon him as the Troubadour who 
possessed the greatest mastery over his language, and surpassed 
all the other writers in the Romance languages, both in the ten* 
derness of his verses, and in his prose compositions. He introduces 
him in * ae twenty-sixth canto of the Purgatorio, and puts some 
lines, Fy the Provençal ^anguage^ into his mouth, which have a sin- 
gular effect in a poem entirely Italian. But the seventeen pieces, 
by this poet, which survive, do not bear out all these eulogies. 
The invention of the stanza in six lines, which is attributed to him, 
does not confer so much honour upon him, in our eyes, as it ap- 

Eears formerly to have done.^ There is reason to believe that 
is better productions are lost, and we ought not, therefore, to 
judge him too severely, by those which remain. 

Amanieu des Escas, who flourished at the end of the thirteenth 
century, under the dominion of the Kings of Aragon, has left uS, 
among various amatory effusions, two verses^ or long poems, on the 
education of young ladies and gentlemen ; which, without being 
remarkable (ov poetical invention, ar« interesting from the naïveté 

* The stanzas of six lines, which were afterwards imitated by Pttrareh, and 
by the principal Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese poets, are songs in six stan- 
zas, oi siX'lines each. The lines of the tirst stansa are terminated by six sub* 
stantiTes of two syllables eaeh, which ought likewise to form the termination of 
the lines of all the other stanzas, with this variation, thai in eaeh stanza the 
words ought to change their place. The same word ought to be found mxcees'* 
sirely at the end of the first, the sixth, the fifth, the fourth, the third, and the se- 
cond lines of each stanza ; so that by the end of the piece it will have occupied 
all the places in the stanza. No harmony, ptrceptible to the ear, results from 
this order of words, so difficult to observe ; andlhe sense is almost always aft- 
erificed to the constrained versification^ Ther constant return of six words, ne- 
cessarily forming the ground-work of he ideas, and compelling the poet, as they 
recur, to avail himself of all their significations, has, however, something pen- 
sive and melancholy about it ; and the poets have occasionally clothed, in this 
stanza, some T^ry touching reflfictions; 



tjf the descripUons, which they contaio, of the manDen of the times. 
The lady, who, in the course of the poem, is twice or thrice ad*» 
dressed by the title of Marchioness, appUes herself to Des Escas, 
who was himself a powerful lord, for his couûsel, as to the proper 
mode of conductiog herself io the world. We are oot a little sur-* 
prised, when we ûndtbat the first adyice he gives her, is more 
fitted for a domestic than for a lady of rank. He tells her that, in 
the first place, after attending to her toilet (and, here, the poet 
enters into the most minute details,) she must prepare to assist her 
lady ID rising, and that she must bring her all she requires for dress- 
ing her head, adjusting her robe, and washing her hands.* It was, 
at this time, regarded as an essential part of female education, tha^ 
a young lady should learn to obey before she presumed to com* 
mand ; add she, therefore, willingly attached herself to some noble 
dame, to learn from her, whilst she performed these menial offices, 
politeness and the art de beau parler. Des Escas then instructs the 
damsel on her duties, when she is addressed by a suitor. He tells 
her that it is quite proper that she should make choice of some obe- 
dient admirer ; provided that instead of selecting him merely for 
bis handsome person or his riches, she accept the services of a 
courteous lover, of honourable birth. He permits her both to 
give and to receive presents ; but he admonishes her not to tres- 
pass beyond certain boundaries: ''For, if he loves you," con- 
tinues he, '< he ought to ask you for nothing, whiht you continue 
unmarried^ which can be prejudicial or dishonourable to you." 
We perceive, from this, that the Provencals were of opinion, as 
are the Italians and the Spanish at the present day, that gallantry 
after marriage was a venial offence, whilst in an unmarried woman 
it was accounted highly disreputable ; and the consequences of 
this fake morality are easily forseen.t 

* £ coMsUi Tos premier 
Que siatz matiniera, 
Cascu jorn que premieira 
Yob leTetz que yostra dona, 
£n asi que si eus sons 
Vos truep gent adobada, 
£ Tcstida e caussada; 
£t enantz que eus cordetz 
Lau qu'el bras res lavetz 
E las mas, et la cara. 
Après amiga cara 
Gordatz estrechamen 
Yostre bratz ben e gen, 
I es las onglas dels detz 
Tan longuas non portetz 
Que i paresea del nier. 

t £ si ens amafort bela 
De mentre qu*es pieusela 
£1 no us deu requerer 
Qu' eus torn a desplaser 
Ad onta ni a dampna^e 
Be tot voatre linhsQe. 

lOS an THE UTERAf l^llE 

The advice to the young gentteoien is iiiiieh of the same fiatare> 
intermingled with domestic details and niHxitns of gallantry. Socfa 
yenng men at were not rich enough to sopport themi^elvés at court, 
at their own expense, and yet wished to edocate themselves to 
gallantry and arms, Uf^aally attached themselves to some lord, whom 
they served as pages at court, or as esquires in the field. The 
counsels of Des Escas to the yoath, are those of an bonoirrabfe 
man, of good sense, bat exceedingly verbose, as if he thought that 
be had never said enough. He takes occasion, from a compli- 
ment v?hich the young gentlemen had addressed to him, to cautiott 
him against the habit of flattering his sotperiors. He shows him 
^hat an injury it is to hb own character, and how he oniy heaps 
ridicule upon the man to whom he wishes to render himseB's^ee- 
able. He enlarge» very much on the subject of love, that most 
important afiair, the great duty of aH young cavaliers, snd thé 
science in which the Troubadours may be said to ha'V^ taken their 
degrees. The advice which he gives him, with reganf tothe ele- 
gance i3£ his dress, his demeanour during touvney s, bis refferve-, and 
his discretion, is conformable to the manners of a chrvaltoua agâ, 
but doe» not possess sufficient novelty for insertion in this place. 
The following exhortation, as to hi» conduct towards his mistress, 
we are certainly unprepared for. <* In case she should give you 
real grounds for jealousy, and should deny that, of which your own 
eyes have given you proof, say to her, ' Lady, I am persuaded that 
what you tell me is tree, but I did really beKere that f had seen 
it.'* This reminds us of the lady of ftishion, who, when surprised, 
by her lover, with another, thus answered his Airious reproaches ; 
'* i am persuaded you do not love me, fbr you believe your own 
eyes, in jMreference to my word." 

Pierre Cardinal,! of an illustrious family atPuy in Velay, who 
died when almost a century old, occupied, at the commencement 
of the thirteenth century, a distinguished place among the Trou- 
badours, less on account of the harmony of hit style than of the 
vigour and asperity of his satirical powers. He is the Juvenal of 
the Provencals. The obstinacy of bis character, his frankness, 
often degenerating into rudeness, and bis bitter raillery, were not 
calculated to promote his success among the ladies; He, there-^ 
fore, quitted gallantry, at an early age, to become a writer of fir- 
ventes ; for the Troubadours gave this name to their satires also, 
from the time that they were divided into stanza» like their chiui'^ 
zos. These nrvenres are levelled, by turns, against all ranks of 

*£ Mlans fagelos 
E as en dona razo, 
£ lis ditz c' ancre no fo 
De so que dels huelbs vis, 
Diguatz Don : £tt suy fis 
Que Tos disetz vertat, 
Mas yen Tay simiat; 

t [^ Raifikmmâ^ in. p. 436. Pwmane Oectlaiiien, i. p« 306. 7r.) 


society ; the elevated cleigr» the military ordera, Ibe monks, ttie 
barons» and the ladies, Pierre Caidioal sees uotbiog around him 
bet corruption of maneers, cupidity, egotiami and baseness. His 
observations, although they exhibit but little acoteness, have yet 
90 air of truth about them. Vice excites bis anger, ivhich ia ec- 
casionally eloquent ; and, in bis rapid invectives, he seldom mia« 
glee either idle details or ill-judged reflections. His boldoesi 
astoniibes us, at a period when the Inquisition might have called 
hios to account, for his offences against the church. ** Indul- 
gences and pardons* God and the Devil,'* says he, speaking of the 
priesthood, ** are all put in requisition. Upon these, they bestow 
Paradise, by their pardons ; others, they condemn to perdition, 
by their excommunications. They inflict blows which cannot be 
parried ; and no one is so skilful in imposition, that they cannot 

impose upon him There are no crimes, for which the 

monks cannot give absolution. For money, they grant to rene- 
gades and usurers that sepulture which they deny to the poor, 
becsiuse they are unable to pay for it. To live pleasantly, to buy 
good fish, the whitest bread, and the finest wine, this is their 
object, the whole year round. God willing, I would be of this 
ofâer, if I could purchase my salvation at this price.*' 

We, likewise, possess a iirveutê^ by the same writer, against 
the priests ; another, «gainst the barons ; and la third, on the 
general depravity of the times. '^ From the East to the West, I 
will make a new covenant with all the world. To every loyal 
man I will give a ^e^ani,* if the disloyal will give me a nail. To 
all the courteous I will give a mark of gold, if the discourteous 
will give me a penny. To all that speak the truth I will give a 
heap of gold, if every liar will give me an egg. As to all the laws 
that are obeyed, I could write them on a piece of parchment, no 
larger than half the thumb of my glove. A young turtledove 
should nourish all the brave, for I should be ashamed to offer them 
a scanty entertainment. But it I had to invite the wicked, 1 
would cry, without regard to the place, 'Come and feast, all 
honest people V "t 

* A coin, Gomuit ia Constaatinople, of abovt ttw vahit of ten 

f D* aos aarisn tro al solelh colgm 
FftQc a la gea uo covinen qotqI ; 
A liai horn doaarai uo bezanb 
Si '1 deslial mi dona un clave] ; 
£t an maure d' aur dooarai al cortes 
Si 1 descauzit mi dona an tornes. 
Al vertadier darai d' aur ua gran moat 
Si ay un huoTs de^ meisoagierf que» sob. 

Tota la lay qu'il pas de la gen an 
Eserieur leu en an petit de pel, 
En la meitat del polgar de mongan ; 
El proa bones paisaerai d' on tortel, 


These safires drew down, upon Pierre Cardinal, the hatred of 
all whom he had attacked, and he thus describes his desolate con- 
dition. — ** There was once a city, 1 do not remember where, m 
which sach a shower feU, that it drove every one mad whom it 
touched. All the inhabitants were thns affected, except one ; and 
he escaped, in consequence of having been asleep in a boase 
when the Shower happened, and when he awakened, he perceived 
that it had ceased When he walked oat, one man ran after him, 
another ran away from him. This man stood stupified, that 
threw stones at the «tars, and another was tearing off his clothes. 
This man strikes him, that offers him money. Here, a man 
imagines himself a king, and walks magnificently with his arms 
a-kimbo ; while, there, another is sitting on the ground. One man 
oses menaces, another vents abase ; one weeps, and another 
langhs ; one spenks without understanding what he says, and 
another is entirely occupied with himself The man, who had 
retained his senses, is prodigiously astonished ; he sees that they 
are wide awake, and he eyes them from head to foot. Bat, 
though he is thus astonished, their surprise is much greater, at 
seeing him in his sound mind. They believe that he has lost his 
senses, because he does not act as they do. They all think that 
it is they who are wise and prudent, and that it is he who is mad. 
One of them strikes him on Che body, another on the neck ; and 
he cannot stir, without being attacked. This man seizes him ; 
the other pushes him, as he strives to escape from the crowd. 
One man menaces him ; another drags htm along. Now, they 
raise him up, and again, they let him fall ; and each plays his 
pranks upon him. He takes refuge in bis house, covered with 
mud, bruised, and half-dead, rejoicing in his escape from them. 

'' This fable is very applicable to the world at large. This 
present age represents the city, which possesses so many madmen. 
The highest wisdom of man is, to love God and his mother, and 
to keep his commandments, but that wisdom is now lost. The 
shower which fell is the covetousness, the pride, and the malice, 
with which the whole race of man is perplexed ; and if God has 
preserved any from this misfortune, the others regard them as 
madmen, and despise them, oecause they differ from themselves, 
and because the wisdom of Crod appears to them folly. The 
friend of God knows that they are senseless, when they have 
lost the wisdom of God ; and they hold him to be mad, because 
they have forsaken the wisdom of God."* 

Car ja pels pros no fara car con res ; 
MaiB si fos uns que los malyats pogaes, 
Cridar ferai, e no gardassen on, 
Venetz na^jar, li pro home del mon. 

* It has been thought proper to give a literal translation of this specimen of 
ProTeuf'Sl poetry ; as it will enable those, who read the original, to compre* 



Giraud Riquier, of Narbonne,* waa a foUower of Alfonao X. 
King of i;astde, and flourished at the end of the thirteenth century! 

^^^ ^^. ^'^^^ «s^> uid to thoie who, without buUm that atttowt. coa- 

5 th«!S*?*'? "^^ **"• ""''*^"' " ^^ «»'« * better Mbarf the tmSiJSSt 
of the original. The text hat been traLlated, word for word, as fhr «my 

I7y S^ffr w L?"^"*^.**"^ "^^ ' language, which I have been aMe to itudy 
owy Ml a few manuscript fragmente, has enabled me so to do. 


-Una citttat fo, no say quels 

Hon cazee una plueya tals 

Que tuy li home de la ciutat 

Que toque, foro foreenat* 

Tuy desse n*ero mais, sols u^, 

£t aquel escapet, ses pus. 

Que era dins una mayzo 

Que dormia quant aysso fo. ; 

£ Tet) quant at dormit 

Del plueya diquit, 
* £ foras entre la gens * 

Fero d'esseaamens 

Arroqoet, Tautre foueîs, 

Utre estupit Tersus, 

£ trays peras contre estelas, 
L'autre esquisse! las gonelas, 
Us ferie, el autrem peys, 
£ l' autre cuyet esnr Beys, 
£t tenc se riquementpels flânez, 
£ l'autre s'assetperlosbancx. 
L' us menasec P autre maldisz, 
L' autre ptorec et 1* autre ri», 
L' autre parlée e no saup que ; 
L' autre fe meteys de se. * 

Aquel que aria so sen, 
Meravilha se molt formen. 
Que vee que be destetz son, 
• £ garda ad aral ed amon, 

■> £ grans meraTcIha a de lor. 
Mas mot l'haa ilh de loi mayor ; 
Qu' el ?ezon ester saviamen 
Cuio que aia perdut so sen, 
Car so qu' elh fen no Ih vezo fayre 
Que a cascu de lores veyaire 
Que ilh son savi elàssenatz. 
Mas lui teno por dessenat 
^ '1 fer en gansa, qui en col ; 
Nos pot mudar que nos degM; * 

L'us r empenh, e l' autre le bol% 
£1 coya isshir de la rota, 

* [Bliof y» pteees are givenia the Pmwuu Ocd».i 3S8l aadtheemMr 
«^/'îï^"**"*^^^^*- '^^ «f ^ totter aie Ô^maaTthaïa 

Vol. I. 14 

.106 W THE tiTERATXJRfi 

He is one of the Troubadours, of whose works we have the 
most numerous remains. He lived at a period, when the poeto 
sought, by novel attempts, to distinguish themselves from the 
crowd of their predecessors. He has left pastorals, aubades, sere- 
nades, ntrt^nges, epistles, and discourses m verse.» He Has 
varied, as far as lay in his power, the form of his verses, but he 
has not succeeded in infusing into them any substanUal novelty- 
His discourses in verse, and his didactic poems, contain little, 
beyond common-place ideas and trite moral maxims. Yet we re- 
cognise, in them, the spirit of an honourable man, not deficient 
in a proper pride. The longest of his poems, by far, is a petition 
addressed to Alfonso of Castile, to raise the profession of the Jon- 
gleurs from the degradation into which it had fallen, on account 
of the Charlatans, who amused the people by their buffooneries, 
exhibiting dancing apes and goats, and singing the grossest song? 
in public, under the same name as the poets of the courts. He 
demands that, by his royal authority, Alfonso shall separate all the 

L' us P esqjiinsa, ' autre U tray 

£ pren colos, e leva, e cbay ; 

Cascu '1 le?a a gran gabantz, ^ 

£1 fuy a sa inayzo deffantz, 

Fangos • ba^tutz e mieg mort» 

£ ac gaug can lor to estort. 

Sest fable es en aquest mon 

Semblans als homes que i son. 

Aquest seigles es la ciutat 

Que es tot pies de forsennatz ;. 

Que el mager sen qu* om pot aver 

So es amar Dieu et sa mer, 

£ gardar sos comendamens, 

Mas arra es perdutz aquels sens. 

La pluya say es casuda» 

Una cobey tat qu'es vengiida, 

Us erguelh et una maleza r 

Que tota la gent a perpreza. 

£ si Dieu n' a alcu gardatz, 

L' autru ils teno por dessenat,. 

£ menon lo de tomp en vilb, 

Car no es del seu que son ilh. 

Qu* el sen de Dieu lor par folia, 

£ V amiers de Dieu on que m 

Conoys que dessenatz son tug 

Car le sen de Dieu an perdut ; 

£ els an kii per d^senat 

Car le sen de Dieu an layssat. 

* These difierent names do not indicate much real variety in the poems» 
The pastorals were eclogue», which more frequently contained conversations 
between the writer and the shepherds, than dialogues between the shepherds 
thettiselvet. The ouhadM and the serenades were love-sonç, for the laondiie 
and thfrevemng. The rrffwon^sa and the redpndes were baUads of a moi9 
wmScated instruction, in which the burthen vras inteodoced in .«ttch a 
manner as to render the composition more laborious. All these poems, even 
the pastorals, were of a lyrical cast. 



men who are thus confoonded together, ioto foar dîttîoct claites 
•—The professors of the art of poetry, the' simple Troubadoars, 
the JoDgleors, and the boffooos. This poem, which bears date 
Jn the year 1275, is one of the last sighs, breathed by the ex- 
piring poetry yf ProFence.* The Troubadour had already wil- 
nessed the fall of his art : he had suryived his glory» the literature 
which he loved, and the language in which he had distinguished 
himself. His situation remmds us of that of Ossian, in the last 
ofhis poems, where he renounces his harp, whose harmony the ' 
new race of men knew nr»t how to^ appreciate. But, how differ- 
ent are the two poems ! The Jongleur of Narbonne thinks only 
of his own vanity ; whilst the bard ofMorvèn is insensible to 
every thing bqt the loss of Oscar and Malvina, and of the country 
and tht glory which he has survived. 

We shall not attempt to make the reader acquainted with any of 
the other poets, who form the multitude of Troubadours, and 
who all hold nearly the same rank, and possess equal pretensions 
to that celebrity, which none of them have been able to obtain. 
An extreme monotony reigns throughout all their {vorks ; and, 
when the features are similar in all, it is difficultio paint a por- 

* Tbis long poem is, properly, an epiitle to the King of Castile. Cinaà Ri- 
quier wrote many of the same kind, and seemd to have been rery successful in 
catchiog the epistolaiy style. Still, he is difficult to be understood, tnd this 
difficulty appears to me, generally, to arise from the corruption of the text of 
the Troubadours. After hanng shown how each state in society divides itself 
•ato seTSial claues, distinguished by name, he adds : 

Per quem ai albirat 
Que fora coTinen 
Pe noms entre joglars, 
Que non e ben estars. 
Car entr* els li raelhor 
Non an de noms honor 
Atresi com de fach 
Qo' ieu ne teng a maltrags 
Cus horns senes saber 
Si de qualqu' estrumen 
Sab un pauc a prezeu 
S* en ira el tocan 
Per carrieiras sercan 
£ queren c' omz li do 
6 autre sez razb. 
Gantara per las plassas 
Vilmen et en gens bassas ; 
Metra queren sa ponha 
B totas ses.tergonha 
Privadas et estranhas, 
Pueys iras si en tavernas. 
Ab sol qu' en puesc aver 
E non^ auzan parer 
£n deguna cort bona. 


trait SO as to present any indîviclaalîty of character. We have 
seen how the Provençal poetry, taking its rise in the eleventh 
centnry, and spreading thronghont the sonth of France and over 
a portion of Spain and Italy, was the delight of every court, ani-^ 
mated all the festivals, and was familiar to all of the peo-' 
pie; and we have seen how, .at the middle of the thirteenth cen* 
tnry, it had made no perceptihle progress. All that we find in 
the earliest songs of William IX., Count of Poitiers, meets ns 
again in the latest productions of Giraud Riquier, or of Jean Es* 
téve. ' The language was almost always the same, and seems only 
to vary, according to the greater or less negligence of the copy- 
ists ; or, perhaps, in consequence of the pretensions of the later 
poets, who, to gain the reputation of employing singular and diffi- 
cult rhymes, corrupted their language, by augmenting it^obscu- 
rities and irregularities. We find the same gallantr]^ expressed 
in the same hyperbolical terms ; the same tenderness, proceeding 
from the ingenious conceits of the brain, rather than from the 
real feeling of the heart ; the saine love-songs^ presenting the 
portrait of a^beauty like all other beauties, and destitute of ex- 
pression ; with the same exaggerations of her merit, her birth, 
and her character ; the same tears, the same submission, the same 
prayers, each undistinguishable from the other, and all of them 
equally tedious. We have satirical nrvetUti^ in which grossness 
smd abuse supply the place of novelty and of wit ; and tensons^ in 
which all the common-places of gallantry are debated, without ex- 
citing our interest, and without ability. We find sextines^ re- 
trinumgea^ and redandea^ in which sense gives place to rhyme, 
without a single fine poetical conception, or a single attempt at 
the epic or tragic style. No trace of true feeling is discoverable ; 
no gayety proceeding from the frankness of the heart, or founded 
upon any thing better than trespasses agiainst decency. This re- 
sult is really surprising^ after examining the productions of nearly 
' two hundred poets, whose works have been collected by M. de 
Sainte-Palaye, and extracted by Millot. The enthusiastic love of 
poetry, which seized the whole nation, leads us to expect far 
different things. The harmonious ear which had presided at the 
invention of so many varied forms of verse ; the sensibility, the 
fancy, which displayed themselves in the earlier songs of the 
/Troubadours ; the richness of the images, which they had bor- 
rowed firom the East, pr which were created by the effort of their 
own imaginations, all gave a hope that some trtie poet would 
* soon rbe up among them. The art of versification, 9moog the 
Italians, the Spanish, and other nations, had not nearly so brilliant 
an origin. As we advance, however, we are gradually undeceived, 
and are disgusted with all that at first promised us pleasure. We 
feel inclined to concur in opinion with the public, who, even without 
a knowledge of the Troubadours, have rejected their claims to 
celebrity, leaving their works buried in manuscripts, rarely to be 
net with , and in danger of perishing for ever ^ and who have con* 



^emoed their langaage, the earliett of the Enropean dialects, oot- 
withstandiog its soDoroas harrooDy» its fleiihilityt equal to the 
Itaiiao, and its majesty of soand yvhieh rivals the Spanish, became 
DO writer of true genius has arisen, to redeem it from the charge 
of sterility. This poverty in the literature of Provence, and this 
sudden decay, succeeding so splendid an era, dem:tnd some expia» 
nation. After the thirteenth century, the Troubadours were 
heard no more, and all the efforts of the counts of Provence, who 
had then assumed the title of King of Naple», of the magistrates 
of Toulouse, fuad of the kings of Aragon, to awaken their genius, 
by the Courts of Love and the Floral Games, were vain. 

The Troubadours themselves have attributed their decay to the 
degradation into which the Jongleurs, with*whom they were geoe* 
rally confounded, had fallen. To make an occupation of amusing 
the rich and the powerful, and to sell laughter and entertainment, 
mast always deteriorate the character. When gayety and wit are 
repaid with a salary, the receiver is necessarily placed on a level 
with the lowest buffbons ; and, in addressing the populace, such 
men, perhaps, have more success, in eicitmg admiration and in 
gaining rewards, than others of the most distinguished talents, 
whose productions are calculated to gratify real taste. The Joo« 
gleurs (Jtfeulatores) used to take their stations in the cross-roads, 
clothed in grotesque habits, and attract a crowd around them, by 
exhibiting dancing apes, legerdemain tricks, and the most ridicnlous 
antics and grimaces. In this manner, they prepared their audience 
for the verses which they recited ; and they cared not what ex- 
travagancies they committed, provided they were well rewarded. 
The most distinguished Troubadours, when they presented them- 
selves at tlie court of a prince, or the castle of a baron, were often 
introduced under this name of Jongleurs. Even when they expe- 
rienced the reception due to their talents, and when the noblest 
ladies admitted them to i§miliar converse, or bestowed their affec- 
tions upon them, they were, yet, made to feel that they were con- 
sidered as of a subordinate rank, and that their di^isolute manners, 
their irritability, and their insatiable avarice, would not be borne 
with patience. The jealousy, too, of the offended husbands, fre- 
-quently compelled them to submit to outrages ivhich degraded 
them. la a situation so unfavourable to that loftiness of spirit, 
which is the accompaniment of genius, it was not strange that tha 
talents, even of the noblest characters, should not be developed. 

All the Troubadours did not, however, make a trade of their 
art. A sufficient number of sovereigns and of powerful barons 
and knights were devoted to poetry, to preset rve the nobility of its 
origin, even during the whole period of Provençal literature. 
Frederick, King of Sicily, who died in 1326, is the last of the 
Troubadours, whose works have been collected by M. de Sainte- 
Palaye, as the Count of Poitou was the first. 

But the art of the Trobadour contained within itself a more im- 
mediate principle of decay, in the profound ignorance of its pro^ 


fetson, and in the impombilily o( their giTing to their poetry a 
higher character than they thenuielTes possessed. A few of them, 
only, were acquainted with the Latin lango^; and we may 
judge of their erudition, by the pretewions which they display in 
citing, not any poetical passages, but semi-barbarous phrases bor- 
rowâ from the schoolmen. None of them were acquainted with 
the authors, whom we denominate classical. In the Treasure of 
Pierre de Corbian,* in which he makes a parade of his acquire- 
ments, and seems to think that he is reckoning up the whole sum 
of human learning, he mentions only one of th^ Latin poets. 
This is Oyid, whom he calls a liar ; nor can we collect that he 
bad ever read him. In the extracts from two hundred Trouba- 
dours, I have scarcely* (bond three or four passages, which con- 
tain any allusions to the mythology, or to the history of antiquity. 
They only, indeed, indicate such vague and uncertain information 
as an ignorant monk might display, in giving a summary of his ac- 
quirements. The Troubadours had no other modeb than the 
songs of the Arabians, which their earliest masters had studied, 
and which hud perverted their taste. They had no idea of the 
elegance of the ancients, and, still less, of their invention ; nor 
were they aware of the necessity of instilling into their poetry 
new ideas, and of connecting them with action. There is not, in 
all the poems which have been preserved, the least attempt at the 
epic ; although the great revolutions, in the midst of which they 
lived, and the events of general interest which they witnessed, 
and in which they were frequently the actors, pught, naturally, to 
have given them the habit of relating facts in an animated manner, 
and of recording historical events in the language and with the spirit 
of a poet, who designs that his compositions shall be repeated 
from mouUi to mouth. We are told, it is true, of a Historj*bf 
the Conquest of Jerusalem, by the Chevalier Béchada, a Limousin f 
but, as it is lost, it is impossible for o&i, to determine whether it 
was not a mere chronicle in rhyme, of which many were written 
in ^e north of France. True merit and real talents, employed 
upon so national a subject, in which such vivid interest was felt 
by every cavalier, must surely have escaped the fate of Béchada's 
poem. The Troubadours had no idea of the theatre or of dra- 
matic representations; although the two Nostradamus's, with 
their usual ignorance and inaccuracy, have given the names of 
tragedies and comedies to compositions, which were no more dra- 
matic than the Divina Commedia of Dante. Thus, deprived of 
ail the riches of antiquity, the. Troubadours had few resources 
within themselves. The Germans, who have named all modem 
poetry romantic^ have supposed all the literature of the Romance 
nations to have originated from Christianity, or, at least, to have 
been closely connected with it. The poetry of the Provencals, 

♦ jmUoi, Tol. ill. p. «S7. 


however, bean no traces of this source. It contains very fi^r 
reliions pieces ; none, which display enthusiasm ; nor any, where 
Christianity forms part of the sentiment or of the action. When, 
by chance, religion is introduced, if it be not, merely, some hymn 
to the Virgin, a poor imitation from the Latin chnrch-servicei it 
is only in some profane^ way. Thos, Bernard de Yentadonr, 
when he compares his lady's kiss to the sweet delights of' Pan* 
dise, adds, that her faToars are a proof of what the Psalmist has 
said» *^ That a day, in her courts, is better than a hundred else- 
where." So, Arnaud de Manreil calls his lady "the perfect 
image of the Diyinity, before whom all ranks are equal;'* and says 
that << if God should grant him the enjoyment of his* love, he 
should think that paradise was' deprived of all its joy and glad- 
ness." Many revoked, in the face of the Church» the oaths by 
which they had bound themselves to their married mistresses» 
and were absolved from their adultery by the priest ; while 
others caused masses to be said, and tapers and lamps to be burnt 
before the altar, to propitiate their ladies. Sueh was the light, in 
which religion was considered by the poets of Provence. We 
see them fettered bv the icy chains of superstition, but never ani- 
mated by the fire of enthusiasm. Religion was a stranger to their 
hearts ; but the dread which it inspira, remained like a weight 
upon their souls. Sometimes, hi foolish security» they made spprt 
of this fear ; yet when it again assumed its empire over them, 
they tremMed at its influence. Never did their faith fiimish them 
with a single brilliant image or animated sentiment. A few pieces 
on the crusades, to whkh the reader has already been referred, 
may, ^rhaps, be excepted ; but it is observable, that martial 
en^usiasm, the only enthusiasm which they display» is quite as 
conspicuous even in the war-songs of the same period» which 
have no reference to spiritual subjects. 

It is not easy to account for the fact, but it is certain» that a 
romantic imagination was rarely discovered among the Trouba- 
dours ; whilst the Trouvères, Uie poets and reciters of tales» in 
the conntries on'the north of the Loire, invented or perfected all 
the ancient romances of chivalry. The tales of the Troubadours 
have nothing romantic or wariike about them. They always 
relate to allegorical personages, Mercy» Loyalty, and Bioées^, 
whose duty it » to speak, and nrot to act. In other poetical 
l^eces of this kind» we are obliged to guess at the allegoir, and 
to search for a key to the fiction ; but here the moral stan<u per- 
fectly naked, nor is it sufficiently interesting to prevent us nom 
regretting that a thicker veil was not thrown over it. 

Thus, the poetry of Provence had no resoiirces which were 
not within itself; no classical allusions, no mythology, either na« 
tive or borrowed, nor even a romantic imagination. It was a 
beautiful flower, sprii^ng up on a sterile soil ; nor could any cul- 
tivation avail it, ia the agence of its natural nourishment. The 
Greeks» it is true, who had no masters in their art» gave birth to 

• 0. 

11^ «K 7Hfi UTEEiLTUSE 

UKftir onro inTestiona ; but, id addîtîoo to tbe faci, that we cannot 
compare any other nations with the Greeks, so richly .endowed as 
they were, by nature, the culture of tbe latter was progressiFe. 
No foreign influence had driiren them from their course. Their 
reason, their imagination, and their sensibility, were all developed 
at the same moment, and always preserved a happy harmony* 
Among the Provencals, on the other hand, the imagination had 
received a hhe direction, from their first mixture with the Ara- 
bians, Reason was entirely neglected, or perverted, by the study 
of school-theology, and of an unintelligibie system of philosophy. 
Sentiment, abandoned to itself, was either weakened by monotony 
of expression, or perverted by the over-refined and affected lan- 
guage, which seemed to bear an*affinity to that of the schools; 
Still, it is impossible to say, what might have been the influence 
of a single man of genius, upon the language and literature of Pro* 
venee. Had Dante been bom in the country of the Langue d'Oc ^ 
had he boldly united, in one great poem, sdl the high mythology 
Gff Catholicism, wkh tbe sentiments, the interests, and the pas- 
sions of a knight, a statesman, and a crusader, he would havf^ 
opened a mine of riches, unknown to his contemporaries. Num- 
berless imitators would have followed in his steps, and, by his 
sole influence, the Provençal language might still have been in 
existence, the most cultivated as well as the most «neient lan- 
guage of southern Europe. But, in these regionsi fanaticism ^kin- 
dled a flame, which repelled the advancing steps of the human 
intellect, and the crusade agamst the Albigenses, which will forta 
the subject of the next chapter, decided the destiny of Provence. 


fto l^ar against the Albigensop^The last PKyencal Poet^, in Languedoc «nâ 


Tn period now arrived, when the cruelties of civil war and a 
persecution of the most ImplaGabl^ descriptionj, spread desdatiott 
over the country, in which the Provençal poetry had so lively 
flourished. The deadly hatred of the constants, inducing de« 
vastation and carnages, soon overwhelmed the people, among^ 
whom tbe Gay Science had been cultivated, and banished poetry 
from the land of its birth* The Troubadoursi whose sole mean» 
of subsistence were found in the hospitality and liberality of the 
noUes, were now welcomed to desolated castles, whosef masters 
had been ruined by war, and often driven to despair, by the idan- 
sacre of their families. Those, who associated with the coa* 
quetors, gradually imbibed their ferocious prejudices and their 


&tllltiei»a^ LiUl them, the^ delîMted in UMd. Poettf hid 
no lODger, anj cHaroii Tor them, and ktea the lahg;taBge b( l«Te 
app^MKd to them pat of oatdre. Dbring the thirteenth cëntui^, 
the longs of the Troubadoun are full of allntioiiH to thiii fttil 
>rnr, the fary of which had «tifled thé'tr génioB, (»erha{M at the 
very period when it whs aboat to be developed. The lanij^a^ 
■nd pbetrjr of Pro?encé were estiogaisbed in blood. 
. The exceBsire corraptioa of the clergy h»d, as we haVe klrtady 
ittii, ftimiBhed a subject for the latiricaf powers of all the Tron- 
badoiira. The capidity, the dissimulation, and the bàteoeA iff 
thét body, had rendered them odious both to the Aobleil Bad the 
^o^Ie. Thé priests and monks incessantly employed tbeihiéliek 
m despoiling the sick, the widotted, the fatherless, and indfeeil, 
dl, i^hom age, or veAkness, or misfortune placed within tti«ir 
grUsp ; while they squandered In debauchery and dmnkenneSI, 
the money which they extorted by the mwtt shameful artificei. 
Thus, Raymond de Castetnau exclaims, " The clergy, In theîr 
coietooanesB, are aiming, every day, by theit impoflitiODa; tb 
•hoe and to clothe tbemieltes well. The great ftrelates ■)« ib 
e^er to advance thfeir Ibrtattes, thtlt they exteud their dibtititoeri, 
without any show of reason, if yon hold fln honourable fiJfrf 
Ibem, they inlmediately whih tb Seiz« it ; attd yon caUhot ttcà#t/k 
fUe projirietorship, anle« you ^ve them a aulm of money. Of èfi- 
léf into ^oreuants more favourable to them. 

"If God faaa willed the Blnck monks to be Onrivallriâ m fMft 
good eating and in their amouni, and the White mdnks in th«iY 
king balls,' and the Templiirs and Hotpitall^rB in bride, àbd th« 
Codons III usùïy ; I hold Saint Peter aUd SAnt Andrew t6 baVft 
been ^^gions fools, for saffering so thaaj torments far the Uke 
of God ; sitJce all these people, also, ate to be saVecf."* 

The gentry had imbibed auch ft cOrttempt for thé corrrfBteS 
dèrgy, that they weM dnwilting to éduéite (h^ ChUaiWn to tiié 

* Clériia rot taacati jàtà pet edgil 
Ab cobeitBt ben cauiiu' e vcitir. 
Bit gran FreUu Tolon lani eoanOT 
Que eq* f>xo Bl^ryao lor jleiUl. 
G si lenBC itel lor Ud àqrat flen, ^ _ 
Vofr^ t aver, maa n.ol caWfelf lea 
Si nan lOr dats una aoiii ^ ifgpii 
ùw/d tit OJii ^ni tMtttf eorinen. 


priesthood ; and they graated the benefices, in their gift, to their 
servants and bulifis. " I had rather have been a priest than 
have done so disgraceful a thing," became a proverbial expres- 

Whilst the respect for the Chnrch had received so severe a 
shock, the Paulicians had introduced, from the East, a simpler 
faith and a greater purity of manners. The reformed Christian 
sect of the Paulicians had spread, during the seventh centnry, 
from Armenia, over all the provinces of the Greek empire. The 
persecution of Theodora, in 845, and of Basil the Macedonian, 
in 867 and 886, after having effected the destruction of more than 
a hundred thousand, victims, compelled the remainder to seek re- 
fuge, some among the Mussulmen, and others among the Bulga- 
rians. Once without the pale of persecution, their faith made the 
most rapid progress. The Bulgarians, who had established a 
considerable commerce between Germany and the Levant, by 
means of the Danube, spread their opinions over the north of Eu- 
rope, and prepared the way for the Hussites of Bohemia ; while 
those Paulicians, who had become subjects of the Mussulmen, 
insinuated themselves, through Spain, into the South of France 
and Italy. In Languedoc and Lombardy« the name oi Paterins 
was given to them, on account of the sufferings to which they 
were exposed, ii[herever the pontifical authority extended itself; 
and they afterwards received the name of Albigenses, from the 
numbers who inhabited the diocess of Alby. According to^ the 
conference, reported by the Abbé Foncaude,t these sectarians, 
who were accused of charing in the doctrines of the Manichaeans, 
with respect to the two principles, differed from the Church of 
Rome, merely in denying the sovereignty of the Pope, the pow- 
ers of the priesthood, the efficacy of prayers for the dead, and the 
existence of purgatory. Driven, by persecution, from the other 
parts of Europe, they enjoyed a wise toleration in the territories 
of the Count of Toulouse, the Viscount of Beziers, and among the 
Albieenses ; and their numbers continnully received accessions, 
by the harangues of father Sicard Cellerier, one of their most elo- 

*' See the HiaUAre de Languedoc^ par les PP. Vic et Vaisette, t* iu. p. 129. 
The word of a monk may be t>elieve4 when he relates in a very religioiu work, 
the corruption of the clergy and the contempt into which they had fallen. 
But the pious Benedictines, from whom we have borrowed these details, and 
many pf those which follow, have other claims to our confidence. Few men 
have examined original documents and collected a^uthorities, with the same 
zeal and indefatigable patience, and few have displayed so much impartiality, 
in their searches. Tbeir attachment to learning seems to have corrected 
the prejudices of their order. It is true, we sometimes perceive that they pos- 
sess knowledge which their habit does not permit them to communicate ; Imtj 
with a small degree of critical acumen, we may collect, from their wod» aloae> 
a vsry just idea of the history of the Albigenses. 

tf t Hist, de Languedoc* 


quent pastors. At this period, the Proyençals, who had been en* 
riched bj th.eir commercial intercoarae with the Moora and the 
JewSjjmd* who had, of necessity, been thrown into contact with 
those people, respected the rights of conscience ; whilst the in- 
habitants of the country to the north of the Loire,' were com* 
pletely subjected to the power of the- priests and to the dominion 
of fanaticism. The Spaniards, more .enlightened, still, than the 
Provencals, and not far removed from the period, when they had 
themselves been compelled to claim the freedom of opinion, nn* 
der the Moorish yoke, were still more tolerant. They had not 
yet engaged in their tedious wars against the Church. A century 
before the Sicilian Vespers, the kings of Aragon were the declared 
protectors of all who were persecuted by the papal power ; and, 
in emulation of the kings of Castile, they were, at one time, the 
mediators for the Albigenses, and at another, their defenders in 
the field. 

Missionaries were despatched into Higher Languedoc, in 1147 
and 1 181, to convert these heretics \ but with little success, se 
long as arms were not resorted to. Every day, the reformed 
opinions gained strength. Bertrand de Saissac, the tutor to the 
young Viscount of Beziers, himself adopted them. They had 
spread even beyond Languedoc, and had gained many powerful 
partizans in the Nivernois. At length Innocent III. resolving to 
destroy these sectarians, whom he had exterminated in Italy, des- 
patched, in the year 1 198, two Cistercian monks, with the autho- 
rity of Liâtes a latere^ to discover them, and to bring them to 
justice* The monks, ambitious of extending the unprecedented 
Ijpwem with which they had been intrusted, not contented with 
attacking merely the heretics, whom they punished with exile and 
with confiscation of their goo^s» quarrelled with all the regular 
clergy, who had attempted to protect their country from such vio* 
lent proceedings. They suspended the Archbishop of Narbonne, 
and the Bishop of Beziers. They degraded the Bishops of Tou- 
louse and of Viviers, and raised to the See of Toulouses Folquet 
de Marseille, a Troubadour, who had gained some fame by his 
amatory verses, but who, disgusted with the world, had retired 
to the cloister, where he had fostered the passions of fanaticism 
and persecution.^ Pierre de Castelnau, the most eager of the 
Pontifical Legates, astonished at his slow success in the.conversion 
of the heretics, accused Raymond VI. Count of Toulouse, of fa- 
vouring them ; because that prince, being of a mild and timid dis- 
position, refused to lend himself to those sanguinary proceedings 
against them, which had been suggested to him. The anger of 
the priest, at last, induced him to excommunicate the Count in 
1207, and to place , his states under an interdict. In a confet- 

IJI As to Folqoet, see MiUoi, yol. i. p. 179, &c. 


enee, wbicb took pkc^ a year later, he agnio treated him with the 
most violeiit ôtitEagé ; and H was, doubtless, npoo this occasioii, 
that be qaarrelled with one of the Ooont's gentlemen,' who fol- 
lowed bite to the banks of the Rhone, on his r.etam,'Qnd kiUed 
him on the lath of Jahnary, 1208. The marder of this monts,' 
himself polluted with blood, was the completion 6f the misfoniunes' 
ofLai^^edoc. Innocent III. addressed a letter to the king of 
Francet and to all the princes and most powerful barons, as weft 
as to the metropolitans and the hisbops, exbortiiig them to avenge 
the blùod which had been shed, and to extirpate the heresy. Alt 
tl|e indulgences and pardons, which were usually granted to the 
cVusaders, were promised to those who exterminated tnese unbe- 
lièvers, a thousand times more detestable than thé Turks and the 
Saracens. More than three hundred thousand men appeared in 
arms to accomplish this butchery ; and the first nobles of France^ 
the most virtuous, and, perhaps, the mildest of her aristocracy,* 
believed that they were rendering an acceptable service to 6od, 
in thus arming themselves against their brethren. Raymond Vl. 
terrified at this storm, submitted to every thing that was required 
of 'him. He delivered up his fortresses, and even maochedto the 
dru^ade, against the most faithful of his own subjects ; and yet, 
dotwithstfinding this disgraceful weakness, he did. not escape the 
hatred or the vengeance of the clergy. But Raymond ,]Roger, 
Viscount of Bezienr, his youthful and generous nepheW| wHhoat 
sharing himself in the heretical opinions, would d^i consent to 
the Atrocities, Which were about to be committed it^ his states. 
He encouraged his subjects to defend themselves ; and shattmg 
himself up ih Carcassonne, and delivering Beziers to the care of 
Ifis lieutenants, he awaited, with firmnesis, the attack of the cru- 
saders. ) 

I am unwilling to detail the progressof this fi*ightful war, which 
y^ possesses a strange interest, it is only connected with the 
subject of thé present work, inasmuch as it caused the clestruc- 
tlôn of Provençal poetry. Beziers was taken by assault, on 
the'2Sd of July, 1209 ; and fifteen thousand iahabitantlB, according 
tb the narrative which the abbot of the Cistercians transmitted to 
the Pope,^ or sixty thousand, according to other contemporary 
writers, were put to the sword. * The city itiself, after a genendl 
massacre, not o>nly of its inhabitants, but likewise of the neigh- 
bouring peasantry, who had thrown themselves into it, was re- 
duced to sishes. An old Provençal historian h9S augmented, by 
tile simplici^ of his language, the horror of this picture.! 

*:. U was th(B tame Arqold, al^bot of, the Cisterciany, wlipse narratiTe 19 hece^ 
cited, who, when he was asked, before the city was taken, bow he could sepa- 
jrate. the hereUcs from the eatholics, replied, **KULthemidli GuduilUsnem 
voho hdimg to him'^ 

t Pins la Tilla da Bezters sou i^jtrets, on foue fkit lo plue j^nd murtre de 
gftns que jamas fossa fait en tout lo monde ; car aqui non era sparniat Yiejl bk 

OV xm XmWMAMVMfb li7 

' *' "Pi^ «iktectd tk(i.<% «CBffjEiAn, whmatbci^ mwdratd 
p^jWto ^1% VM> e.?^v koawn mk tii# w obU. feot dney ■y w r^d 
D|fHtl^ff« jTOHfig^ bm: ^dd* Qor infimta «ttki» broMt Tkey kitted ^ 
n|«id9^a4 9II o£ them ; wbich being teen by thei tai i peopk of 
t|« c}^, |b^3r. iha^ were ablc( did cetrieal into thei ymat ckanli pf 
^ Kiimciqs* boUt oeo. and wemeii« The obepbdaa thereof 
iiJmwi tlMfjt netvealed, censed tbe beUa ki rtiig« ■atil ereiy body 
ym àfifuL ftat oeitbei the aoond o£ the bells, dm the cbaplaiim 
ia tbcwr prieatii habits» nor the cleska, coakl binder all firom W« 
191^ pi]^ U»i M«e sword ; ana onJar escepadv Sot all the aeal «mvm 
sMet aofl.dtèdfr Ncubiog sa pitiable waa ever beaid of or deoei 
spd wh^n the city, had beeo pUlaged, il leaa sel 00 fire» ao tktà it 
was. «U pifllaged and buraed, eveii as it appears at this dey. Na 
UvJHPg. thing was lefi, which waa a «ruei yengeanoe, seeing, that 
tlie said Viscaont was, neither a. beeetic nor q£ their sect.'' 

This frngi^eat has been selected» for the purpose oC aharw iag 
thali th« FfiQViSBçal: laogoage, at that tine, could boast nofe only m 
pg^tS) b«t, sjpo, cif pcQse, writers. U waa.a. formed knguage» like 
tbe ItaUao. and , bl(e tba^ tpogue, Ua menit was its aimpbcilgL The 
aftony^B^ua hiatorian, fisw) whom tb» above extinct i» boarawod» 
r^nda q^of tbe Florentine bistori^M), ViUaoii by hie candnan 
asvibfa.pofireBB of dofcnpUon. The laognage.mjghl, perhaps, hare 
bift^iM mom pme and fixed, and. the pcose writera nd^l hai» 
pirodn^oda r/eyplntioA ip ibeir lUenalnre; had not theseiassocBoat 
and the snbBeqnontsesyitiido oCPro¥i»ce, destroyed the aaiioDal 

Xho. coorage^of tbe Viaconnt of Beziera did not fail, «ron.on» 
4»r these honrihle.ckoiioifiaoceA ; and the. bsano inhahiieaie ofi 
Caraaaapono* renowed, their, oath of attachoMnt ia. him» anl o£ 
fidelit^i to imfi. another. In. eeverali salliea, th^ had the êàtm^ 
UijgBrt awl a^( les^h, P«ter IJL of Ai^igOD, offeredi hiasself. an ne* 
dfitoff» sfllicMwSi^be forbeatanceof the craaadem to the Vi s s — n t » 
wbo fi0k, hie fric^ and relation. Ail the favour whioh.conld be 
(Uocunf^iffipm.ths^ prieats, who presided oyer, the amy', 
o&r to, allow, thirteen o£ tbe inhabitants, including the Viftoonnt^ 
ta leairia tb# citj* The. remainder were rfsserv-ed for a butclîmrjr 

jofs ; aoa pas 1<» enfin que popavaa: los toavan et martn^aa, la qoeBa 1 
^^9 V9^ l9^;diti.4a la Tiljat •• jretivvg»«P ><» 4n^ poadiaa dins la graait l^^sa, 
de tan Nazarj, tant homes que femes. La ont los capela^ de aquella se retire;, 
re^en, faseii tfrar las campanasy quand tout lo monde fossa mort. Mais non 
y'sgûetson ai campana, ni capela revestit, ni clerc, que tout non paseia per lo 
tiiiush^i dé l^eapaia, que ong tant solament non scapet, que non fossen morts et 
tuf^ ; qu^ fouA la plus gmi4. pi^tat; qna jamay de^pey ^ sis ausida et foçba ; 
et Jù^ vi^ f il^i^ mjBte|!pien,lo foc per tota la vfU^ talâmen que touta es pillada 
et arsfli,' ainsin que encaras de presan, et que i]|on y aemoret caus^ Tiventa aji. 
ntondo, qoe'foqç nna cnîela vengança, vist que lo dit Visconte non era £retge, 
ni de lor ëepte. {t^mwes dâ VHkkire de LanguedoCf t« iiir p. 11.) 

Và% ptoBf^ i[lwiQk if^propêrly.the I^ai^oedoc direct, is lâacb mofa. înteMigi- 
ble thap the Tefsea of the Troiibadoi^s. 


to that of Boziersv The answer of the VUicoQRt was, that 
he would conseiit to be flayed alive^ before he would abandon a 
«ingle one of his fellow «citizens ) and he persisted in defending 
himself with nnconqnerable valoar. He was, at last, betrayed by 
a pretended negotiation, and made prisoner in contempt of the 
safe conduct by which he was allowed liberty to treat ; and being 
delivered to thé Count de Montfort, he was, ultimately, poisoned 
in prison. The inhabitants of Carcassonne, according to the 
anonymous chronicler before cited, made their escape, in the 
n%ht, over the fortifications* According to others, tliey were 
permitted to leave the city in their shirts, with the exception of 
four hundred who were burnt, and fifty who were hanged. The 
legate was desirous of immediately creating a new Viscount of Be- 
ziers, but the Duke of Burgundy, the Count of Neyers, and the 
Count de Saint Paul, ashamed of the treachery and crimes to 
which their success was owing, refused the odious gift. Simon 
de Montfort alone, the most ^rocious, the most ambitious, and 
the most perfidiousof all the crusaders, consented to bear the 
title. He immediately did homage to the Pope, procured the 
rightful Viscount to be delivered to him, that he might be put out 
of the way, and created a ground of quarrel with Raymond V|,, 
Count of Toulouse, whom in his torn, he wished to despoil of his 
territories.: But we shall not follow this conqueror into the 
firightful wars, with which he devastated the whole of the south 
of France. They, who escaped firom the sackibg of the towns, 
were sacrificed by the fagot. From 1209 to \i29 nothing was 
seen but massacres and tortures. Religion was overthrown, 
knowledge extinguished, and humanity tr^en under foot. In 
the nndflt of these misfortunes, the ancient house of Toulouse 
•became extinct, on the des^h of Raymond VII., in 1249 ; and that 
ooontry, formerly, a sovereignty, was united to the crown' of 
France by Saint Louis. A few years before, in 1245, the family 
of Provence had ftdled, in the person of Raymond Berenger IV. ; 
and Charles of Anjou, the ferocious conqueror of the kingdom of 
Naples, had claimed that territory as bis inheritance. Thus, the 
sovereign families disappeared in the south of France ; and the 
Provencals, and all the people who^poke the Langue d'Oc, be- 
came subject to a rival nation, to which they bad always enter- 
tained the most violent aversion. In their servitude, a few plain- 
tive songs of grief were heard ; but the muses fled trom a soil 
polluted with carnage. 

A few Troubadours were found among the ranks of the perse- 
cutors, the most celebrated of whom, was the ferocious Folquet, 
Bishop of Toulouse, who rendered himself more odious by his in- 
famous treacheries than even by the punishments which < he in- 
flicted. Betraying alike his prince and his flock, he entered 
without hesitation into all the intrigues of Simon de Montfort, for 
despoiling Raymond VL of his estates. Hè organized, even in 
Toulouse, a band of assassins, who were called the White Com- 


pany, at the head of whom he marched, for the parpoae of jnas- 
aacriiig all who were suspected of fiiTonring heretical opioioiia. 
This band was united to the army of SImob de Montfort, when, on 
two different occasions, he hesieged Toulouse. At the second 
siege, all the crusadera and the allies of De Montfort besought him 
to be mercifiil ; but Folqoet alone advised him to despoil the citi- 
zens of their goods, and to throw the most distinguished of them 
into prison. When be entered Toulouse, he announced to the 
inhabitants that he bud obtained their pardon, and invited them to 
throw themselves at the feet of De Montfort. The citizens rushed 
out of the gates in crowds ; but, as they entered the camp, they 
were loaded with chains, and Folquet took advantage of their ab- 
sence to deliver up the city to pillage. A sufficient number of the 
armed inhabitants yet remained to offer resistance. The combat 
s^gain conunencedf and its result was doubtful. Folquet presented 
Idmself before the enraged inhabitants, and solemnly engaged to 
set all the prisoners at liberty ; an engagement, which he gua- 
ranteed by his own oath and that of the Abbot of the Cistercians. 
But, at the same time, he demanded that the citizens should de- 
liver up to him their arms and fortifications. The inhabitants were 
weak enough to rely once more on the oath of their bishop, but 
no sooner were their arms surrendered, than Folquet, by his 
pontifical authority, absolved Simon de Montfort from the oath 
which be had taken. The prisoners were thrown Into dungeons, 
where nearly the whole of them perished, and the city, under 
pain of being razed, was subjected to a contribution of thirty thou- 
sand marks of silver. Folquet died in 1231, and his crimes were 
thought to have secured him a reception in heaven. He is one 
of the most conspicuous saints of the Cistercians, and the title of 
BUnhiureux was conferred upon him. Petrarch mentions him 
with distinction in his Triumph of Love, and Dante sees him in 
Paradise among the souls of the elect. As a Troubadour, we have 
no remains of this fanatic, except some love-verses addressed to 
Azahtts de Roquemartine, the wife of ther Viscount of Marseilles, 
whom he bad attempted to seduce. 

Izam, a Dominican missionary and inquisitor, preserved his cha- 
racter, with greater consistency, in his poetry. We find him, in 
about eight hundred Alexandrine verses, sustaining a dispute with 
one of the Albigenses, whom he is desirous of converting.* His 

* The foIlowiDg \a tbe colhmenesment of this poem : 

JKso fmlaalumu id hentic, 

Dignas me ta heretic, parlap me an petit, 
Que tu oon parlanui gaire, que ja t'sia giazit, 
Si per forzanot ve, aegon i a?euz anzit, 
Segon lo mien Teiaire, ben at Dieu eacarnit. 
Tin fe e ton baptisme renégat e guerpit, 
Car crazes que Piables f a format et bastit. 


9tj}e ef reasMiDg b, to tlreat hk adrenàry m the famit itisiMt^ 
BMiuitr } to presetit to bim» all at bnce^ the mMt umiitolligible doÉ- 
nias ( to exact ïùâ BulMiiksiob to them ; and to mnûmst Idm^ at tae 
end of erery seotencé, with death, torttare, and hell.*^ 

Ab tou deelare yov woii't beliete» 'U« fit thaâ jéa ahtmlfl bim, 

The EM is Ik, tie pitch in hot, end ready is the étake. 

That throdi^ theee tbrtoreij for yoiit sioB^ your pasaegeydttiMf àlke; 

CouM the horrprs of the loqaidtion be fergèttén» thih poem 
alone woald be sufficient to recall thenii 

But the greater part of the Troiibadôun hehdd, with eqial. de- 
testation, both the crasade and the domination of the French. To- 
miez and Palazis, two gentlemen of Taraseon, inTOtked, hi tKelr 
iirvenUif thé succour of the Kingof Aragon^ infaYoHr of tbeConnt 
of 'îouioose. They denounced eternal infamy on the Prinee of 
Orange, who had abandoned the Count of Toulouse^ his imniedtitfé 
lord ; and they exhorted the ProrençalSj that it was better to àë* 
fend themselves in the field than to suffer death in the diin|peett« 
A martial ballad, the burthen of which was "Lords ! be stent, and 
trust in succour l" transports us, as it were, into the Aeldof batde, 
among the unfortunate Provencals, who were. defending tlMta(^ 
selves against this infamous crusade. t Pauletde Marseilles does 
not bewail the crusade, which w^ then terminated, but the subjeo- 
tion ot Provence to Charles of Anjou. The poet deplores the dis* 
honour which that country had sustained, in taking patt in the war 
of Nayles^and thus staining itself with the judicial marder of Gdn- 
radin, and the imprisonment of Henry of Castile. In a very eorièSs 
pastoral, he expresses the unrversal hatred of the people S^ their 
new masters ; bis attachment to the Spaniards^ and his penhaaidh 
^at the king of Aragon, was alone entitled to the iovereignty of 
Proyencf 4 Boniface 111., of Castellan, seems to feel,* sttfl mote 
vividly, the.affront put upon the Provençah by thiff ifotrei^ nsbr- 

B taa aMd solvate a tan bhlI a ordit 
l^or dar «alTatio ; fahameo as mentit^ 
£t de malyais eacola aa apria e'auzit 
£ ton crestiaaisme as falsat e délit. 

* E ■' aquest no vola érey^ Tee tf el ftns «rzitât 

Che art toe companbo* 

Con Of de Diea e San Pdllî abn e'eat ébtèdiens 
NI 't pot entrer en cor, ni pasaar per laa dena, 
Per qu* el foe a'âfntfèlhi e U pelli el tàrmëne' 
Per on deu esptàù^.. . « . • • 

t JHOM, iu. 45, 49, eue. (É ^nalarion of, the w&dle of ÙÛB curioas piece 
will be found at the end of the chSIptéf.— Tr.J 
X MUM, in. 141, &c. 


l^atiofi ^ wbilei at the same time, be accases them of haviDg merit- 
ed» by their cowardice, the opprobrium of being subjected to a 
rival natioD. He «attempts, bj every mode, to rouse them from 
this languor ; and he excites to vengeance James 1. of Aragon, 
whose father, Peter I!., had been slain in 1213, at the battle of 
Moret, whilst fighting in defence of the Count of Toulouse and thç 
Albigenses. Castellan at length succeeded in rousing Marseilles 
to revolt, and placed himself at the head of the insurgents ; but 
Charles of Anjou having menaced the city with a siege, Castellan 
was delivered up. He was beheaded, and his gooda were confis- 
cated. The great satirist of the Provencals, Pierre Cardinal, 
whose verses display the most impetuous passions, seems to have 
been struck with horror at the conduct of the Crusaders. Some- 
times he paints the desolation of (he country, which was the thea- 
tre of the war ; at other times he attempts to inspire the Count of 
Toulouse with courage. "Neither the Archbishop of Narbonne, 
nor the King of France, have the power to change one so wicked 
into a o^an of honour (speaking of Simon de Mootfort.) They may 
bestow gold and silver, and garments, and wines, and viands, upon 
him ; but for goodness, God alone can give it. Would you know 
what share be will have in the spoils of this war ? — the cries, the 
(error, the frightful spectacles which he has beheld, the misfor- 
tunes and the evils which he has occasioned, these will form the 
equipage with^which he will return from the baUle.'*'^ De Mont- 
fort perished m an action before Toulouse, on the 25th June, 
12 IB, though not without having lived to enjoy, for a considerable 
time, the bloody spoils of Raymond VI. 

During the period at which the country of the Langue d'Oc 
was in ita most flourishing state, and the Counts of Provence and 
Touloii84K, rivalling one another in riches and power, invited the 
ioost distinguished poets to their courts, all the neighbouring 

* L* arsireaque de Narbona 
Nil Rey non an tan de sen 
Que de malvaiza persona 

/ Puescan far home yalen ; 
Dar li podon aur o arjen 
£ drap«, e vi e anona, 
Mais io hel essenhamen 
Ha sel a cui Dieus lo dona 

TàIs a sus el cap corona 
£ porta blanc Testimen 
Quel' Yolontatz es felona, 
Com de lops e de serpen ; 
£ qui tols ni trai ni men 
Ni aussiz ni empoizona (j) 
Ad aquo es ben parven 
Quals voler hi abotona. 


f) AUpdine to the death of the Viaconnt de ISéxMn*. 

Vor,. 1. 16 



prîoçes and people attempted to make themselves familiar with a 
iangaage, which seemed to be appropriated to love and gallantry. 
The dialects of the* other countries were, hitherto, by no means 
filed, and were regarded as vulgar, when compared with the 
pure Provençal. AU the north of Italy receiyed with eagerness 
the lessons ofihe Troubadours. Azzo Ytl. of Este, invited them 
to the court of Ferrara, and Gerard de Camino, to Treviso ; while 
the Marquis of Montferrat introduced them into his kingdom of 
Thessalonica, in Greece. The crusade against the Albigenses» 
however, entirely put an end to the influence of the Provencals. 
The country which had given birth to so many elegant poets, was 
now only a scene of carnage and torture. For a long period 
after the first war, the massacres and persecutions, as well as the 
resistance of the unfortunate victims, continued even down to the 
reign of Louis XIV. when the war of the Camisards may be said 
to be the last scene of the fatal tragedy of the Albigenses. A lan- 
guage which appeared only to serve the purpose of repeating 
funeral lamentations, was heard with a kind of horror ; while the 
Italians, perhaps, believed that it was exclusively applied to 
spreading the venomous doctrines of heresy. Charles of Anjou, 
moreover, in the middle of this century, possessed himself of the 
knigdom of Naples, carrying with him in his train the principal 
nobility of Provence ; and the latter, consequently, became 
familiar with the Italian language, which, at that perjod, was as- 
suming a more polished shape. This ferocious monarch would 
have contributed little to the advancement of poetry, whether he 
favoured the language of his wife, the Provençal, or that of his 
new subjects, the Italians ; for bis talent was rather to destroy 
than ip create, and he sacrificed the prosperity of the beautiful 
country which his wife had brought him as her dowry, to his pas- 
sion for war and his unmeasured ambition. He loaded the peo- 
tie with excessive taxes, destroyed the liberty and privileges of 
is barons, dragged into Italy all his subjects who were capable 
/of bu^aring arms, and desolated Provence,* for the purpose of car- 
tj4Dg desolation into the heart of new territories, in his reign, 

^ This terrific prince was, however, a poet, for at this period, to which we 
htTC given the title of barbarous, all the sovereigns and the powerful nobles 
were compelled to sacrifice to the muses. In the manuscripts in the Royal Li- 
brary, there exists a love-song by him in the Langue d'Oil, which has nothing 
very remarkable about it. The following lines form the conclusion. 

Un seul confort me tient en bon espoir^ 

Et c'est de ce qu'oncques ne la guerpi, 

Servie l'ai tojeurs à mon pooir 

N'oneqaes vers autr ai pensé fors qu'à !i ; 

Et à tout ce, me met en non chaloir ; 

Et itf sai bien ne l'ai pas desservi. 

Si me convient attendre son voloir 

Et atendrai corne loyal ami.' 

Par U quLM d^JSlnJWf p.' 148. 


thé Courts of Love were abx>li8bed, which had 80 long ezcited 
tbe emulation of poets, by granting the most briUiant rewards to 
talent ; and which had largely contributed to the refinement of 
manners, by inflicting, with the assistance of public opinion, a 
punishment upon those who trespassed against, the laws of deli* 
cacy. Not oMy temporary Courts of Love were erected in all 
the manors of the greater barons, after every fête and toamey, 
but some of them appear to have received a more solemn form, 
and a more durable existence. Thus, mention is made of the 
Court of Love of Pierrefeu, in which Stephanette des Baux, 
daughter of the Count of Provence, presided, and which was 
composed of ten of the most considerable ladies of the country ; 
of the Coi^rt of Love of Komantn, presided over by the lady of 
that name ; and of the courts of Aix and of Avignoui the latter of 
which was established under the immediate protection of the 
Pope. These four courts appear to have been permanent bodies,- 
which assembled at fixed periods, and acquired a higb reputation' 
for delicacy and gallantry ; and to them were submitted such* 
love-causes as the inferior courts did not dare to decide. The. 
Arrêts à^ Amour were religiously preserved ; and Martial d' 
Auvergne, in 1480, made a compilation of fifly-oneof these ar- 
rêUy which were afterwards translated into Spanish by Diego 
Grazian.* ' 

But all this solemnity, this studious attention to'gallantry and 
poetry, ceased in the absence of the sovereign, who adopted a 
foreign language, and drew to the court of Naples the knights and 
ladies, who used to combat at the tourneys and sit in the Courts' 
of Love. The successors of Charles 1. though more, literary in 
their habits, were more entirely Italian. Charles Ik, and espe- 
cially Robert, patronised the literature of Italy. The latter 
was the friend and protector of Petrarch, who elected him as judge 
before he received the poetical crown^. Some Provençal poems, 
addressed to him, still remain. Crescimbeni makes mention, 
among others, of a sonnet, in bis honour, by Guillaume des 
Âmalrîcs ;t but this little poem, which is composed in the Italian 
style, gives no idea of the ancient poetry of Provence. Joanna- 
I. of Naples, the granddaughter of Robert, appears, during her 
residence in Provence, to have made an'attempt to reanimate the 

* [If we are to tftke the arrêts of Martial D'AuTergnc as real specimens of 
tlie proceedings iq the Courts of Lore, they certainly could not hare been of 
that grare and solemn cast, vrhich M. De Sismondi and other writers wooM 
lead us to belieTe. Nor do they give us, by any means, a faTourable idea of the 
delicaey of the fair judges. The most ridiculous questions are propounded and 
^argued in the gravest manner, and sometimes fictitious personages, as Love aad 
Death, are introduced. If, indeed, these arrêts be the original judgments o^ 
the Courts of Love, it proves that all their proceedings were mere jests and* 
badinage^ but probably the work was intended by the author as a satire i^oii^ 
the real courts. — Tr,] 

t Vite de' Poeti Prwenmdif p. 131. 


fonner ardoar of the Troubadours, and to infase new life into ttw 
Provençal poetry. The beaatifal Joanna, whose heart was 
prored to be so tender and passionate, was, certainly, the fittest 
of all the princesses of Europe to preside in the Courts of Love, 
and to discnss questions of sentiment. Her stay in ProTence, 
however, was not of long duration, and, during all that period, she 
suffered misfortunes and oppression ; while her return to Naples» 
in 1348, separated her again from the poets whom ^e had pa- 
tronised. Joanna, on being dethroned, thirty years afterwanJs, 
adopted a French prince, Louis 1. of Anjou, to whom, however, 
she could only assure the possession of Provence ; the kingdom 
of Naples passing to the house of Duraz. But though Provence, 
after a separation of a century and a half, again possessed her 
sovereign in her bosom, literature experienced no protection 
firom him. Lonis spoke the Langue d'Oui, or the dialect of the • 
north of France, and had no taste for the poetry of the Langue d' 
Oc ; and, moreover, he was engaged, as «^ere afterwards his son^ 
Louis IL and bis grandson Louis III. in a series of nnfbrtunate 
wars in Italy. His other grandson René, who in his turn as- 
sumed, in the fifteenth century, the title of King of Naples and 
Count of Provence, endeavoured, it is true, with great earnest- 
ness, to revive the poetry of Provence. The effort, however, 
was too late ; the race of the Troubadours was extinct ; aad the 
invasions of the English, who desolated France, did not dispose 
the minds of the people to renew the cultivation of the Gay 
Science. It is, however, to the zeal of this king that we owe the 
Live^ of the Troubadours, which were collected ibr him by the 
Monk of the Isles of Gold. 

If the establishment of the sovereign of Provence in Italy was 
so deadly a blow to the Provençal language, the establishment of 
an Italian sovereigb in Provence was no less fatal to it. At the 
commencement of the foiifteenth century, the court of Rome was 
transferred to Avignon. The Popes, it is true, who, for seventy 
years, filled the pontifical chair while it was fixed at that ph(ce, 
were all of them F^nchmen by birth and inhabitants of the coun- 
try where the Langue d'Oc was spoken. I^t, like the sovereigns 
01 Rome, and of a great part of Italy, their courts were com- 
posed of Italians ; and the Tuscan language became so familiar 
in the city which they inhabited, that Petrarch, the first poet of 
the age, who lived at Avignon, and loved a Provençal lady, never 
employed any other language than the Italian to express his at- 

Whilst the native poetry, and even the language of Provence, 

/ properly so called, were every day declining, reiterated efforts were 

/ made in the county of Toulouse, to re-illume the ancient flame. 

/ The house of Saint-Giles, the. ancient counts, were extinct, and 

most of the great feudatories had either perished^ or beep ruined 

by the crusades. The castles were no longer the asylum of 

pleasures and chivalric festivals, although some of the towns were 


recoreriDg from the calamities of war. Tooloase could «gain 
boast o{ her numerous population, her riches, her elegance, and 
her ttite for letters and poetry. * 

fn southern France, from the eleyenth to the ^irteenth centurj, 
the nobiUty gave to the age its character and spirit. In the two 
centuries which succeeded, the inhabitants of the towns assume a 
more important rank. Their privilege? had been augmented by 
the sovereign. They were allowed to raise fortifications, to choose 
their'own magistrates, and to possess a militia. The crown was thus 
enabled either to oppose the powerful barons whom it wished to 
humble ; or to defend itself in the wars between France and Eng- 
land ; or, lastly, to raise, from this source, increased taxes, since 
the principal part of the revenues of the state were derived from 
the towns. The inhabitants speedily imbibed republican senti- 
ments ; the principles of equnlity became general ; and a respect 
ibr property, and an enlightened protection of industry, and ac- 
tivity, were the consequences. Zeal for the public good, and a 
great degree of the esprit de corps y united the citizens in their 
patriotic bonds. The state was much better governed ; but the 
poetical spirit had declined. It is hot under the operation of the 
wisest laws, and in times of good order and prosperity, that the 
imagination of a people is most powerfully developed. Idleness is 
much better suited to the poet than activity ; and that vigilant 
and paternal administration which forms good fathers, good mer- 
chants, good artizans, and honest citizens, was much less calculated 
to elicit the genius of fhe Troubadours, than a life spent in wan- 
dering from castle to castle ; in alternate intercourse with the no- 
bles and the people, (he ladies and the shepherds ; and amid the 
enjoyments of luxury, rendered more exquisite by poverty. 

T.he good citizens of Toulouse, or of Marseilles, had their bu- 
siness to superintend and their livelihood to ean» ; and if a man 
devoted himself, from his youth, to singing at/estivals, or medi- 
tating in groves, he was looked upon by his fellow-citizens either 
as a fool, or as one who wished to live on the contributions of 
others. No esteem was felt for a man, who, when he was capa- 
ble of becoming independent by his own :labuur, chose to owe hie 
subsistence to the bounty of the great. Reason and good sense 
are both the accompaniments of prose ; and the most brilliant fa- 
culties of the human mind, are not always those which are most 
requisite to our happiness. 

Still the Capitouls de Toulouse^ the name by which the chief- 
magistrates of that city were distinguished^ were desirous, for the 
honour of their country» of preserving the brilliant reputation 
which it had formerly enjoyed for poetical studies, and which was 
now about to expire. They were not, perhaps, themselves, rery 
sensible of the charms of verse and harmony ; but they were un- 
willing that it should be said, that under their administration, the 
Hame, which had shed such lustre on the reigns of the Counts of 
Toulouse, was extinguished. A few vers^ifiers of little note had 


asfUBied» at Toolouse, the name of Troabadoun, and were accès- 
tomedy balf-jearlj, to aMemble together io the gardens of the 
Aofpftine mook«, where thej read their roaDpo»iûoos to one ano-* 
ther. In 1323, these pereoos resolved to tbrm themselves iato a 
species of academy dtl Gai Sabm-^ and they gave it the title of 
Ia Sobregaya Compankia dels $ept Trobadara de Tolata» This 
**iDOSt gay society" war eagerly joined by the CapiundSf or Tene- 
lable magistrat esy of Toaloose, who wished, by some public fes- 
tival, to reanimate the spirit of poetry.* A circular letter was 
addressed to all the cities of the Langue d'Oc, to give notice that^ 
on the 1st of May, 1324, a golden violet would be decreed, as a 
prize« to the aothor of the best poem in the Provençal language. 
The circular i» written both in prose and verse ; in the name as 
well of ** the very gay company of Troubadours/' as of '< the very 
grave assembly of Capitouu." The gravity of the latter is mani- 
fested by their wonderful display of learning, and by the number 
of their quotations ; for when the Gay Science was transported 
from the castles into the cities, it was united to a knowledge of 
antiquity, and of those studies which were again beginning to be cul- 
tivated. Harmony and sentiment alone were not now all-suf&cient. 
On the other hand, the Troubadour», cited the Scriptures, in de- 
fence of their recreations.. *' Is it not," said they, '^ pleasing to 
Gody our Creator, and our Sovereign Lord and Master, that man 
should render homage to him in joy and gladness of heart, as 
the Psalmist has borne testimony when he says, 'Sing and be 
^ad in the Lord.' " The crowds which collected on the first of 
May, were prodigious. The magistrates, the neighbouring nobility, 
and the common people, all assembled in the garden of the Au" 
gnstines, to hear the sungs publicly rt^ad, which were intended to 
dispute the prize. The violet was adjudged to Arnaud Vidal of 
Castelnaudary, /or his song in honour of the Holy Viigin, and the 
successful candidate was immediately declared a Doctor in the Gay 
Science* Such was the origin of the Floral Games. In 13ôô, 
the Capitouls announced that, instead of one prize, they would 
give three. The violet of gold was reserved for the best song. 
An eglantine of silver, not the ûower of the rose, bat of the Spanish 
jasmine, was promised to the author of the best sirvente^ or oi the 
most beautiful pastoral ; and lastly, the^or de gaug^ or joy-ûower, 
the yellow and odoriferous flower of the thorny acacia, was to be 
bestowed upon the writer of the best ballad. These flowers 

* If the celebrated Clémence haure, whose eulogy was pronounced every 
year in the asaemblj of the Fl< ral Games, and whose statu* , crowned with 
flowers, ornamented their festivals, be not merely an itnosinary being, she ap« 
peart to have been the^ soul of these little meetings,, be^re either the magis- 
trates had noticed them or the public were invited to attend them. But neither 
the circulars of the* Sobregaya Compankia, nor the registers of the magistrates^ 
make any mention of her -, and, notwithstaniling all the zeal with which, at a 
subsequent period, the glory of founding the Floral Games has been attrtbiite(^ 
to her, her existence is still problematical. 



were more than a foot high, and were carried on a pedestal ef 
silver gilt, upon which were ervgraved the arms of the city. It 
seems that in copying these flowers always from the same model, 
the artists forgot what they originHUy represented : the eglantine 
became a columbine, and the joy-flower a marigatd. The Academy 
of the Floral Games has survived to the present day. although it 
seldom crowns any hut French poets. Its secretary is always a 
doctor of liiws, and its rule^ are denommated the Law** of Lore. 
The name' of Trouhadour is still heard there, and the ancient forms 
of Provençal poetry, the song, the sirvente^ and the ballad, are 
preserved with reverence No man of reai talent, however, has 
signalized himself among the fraternity ; and as for the Trouba- 
dours, properly so called, the chanter»* of love and of chivalry, 
who bore from castle to castle, and from tourney to tourney, their 
own verses and the fame of their ladies, (he race was extinct be- 
fore the commencement of the Floral Games. 

In another quarter, however, a flourishing kingdom was daily 
making rapid steps towards power, prosperity, and military glory. 
The kingdom of Aragon had preserved the Provençal language, 
and placed her fame in the cultivation of that literature. The 
employment of that tongue, in aH the acts of government, was 
considered nearly to our own times, as one of the most precious 
privileges which that country por^sessed. Marriage, succession, 
and conquest, had united many rich provinces under the dominion 
of the kings of Aragon; originally, merely the chiefs of a few 
Christian refugees, who had escaped into the mountains to avoid 
the Moors. Petronille, in 1137, carried the crown of Aragon to 
'Raymond Befenger V., then sovereign of Provence, of Catalonia, 
of Cerdagne, and of Roussillon. In 1220, their descendants con- 
quered the islands of Majorca, Minorca, and Ivica ; and, in 1236, 
the kingdom of Valencia. Sicily fell under their dominion in 1282, 
and in 1323, they conquered Sardinia. At the period when all 
these kingdoms were united under one crown, the Catalans were 
the hardiest navigators of the Mediterranean. Their commercial 
relations were very extended. They had frequent intercourse 
with the Grçek empire, and were the constant rivals of the 
Genoese, and the no less faithful friends of the Venetians. Their 
reputation in arms was as brilliant as in the arts of peace. Not 
content with fighting the battles of their own country, they sought 
opportunities of practising their military skill in foreign service, 
and exercised their valour in combats, in which they had no sort 
of interest. The redoubtable soldiery of the Almogavares, is- 
suing out of Aragon, carrieid terror into Italy and Greece. They 
vanquished the Turks and humbled Constantinople ; conquering 
Athens and Thebes, and destroying, in 1312. in the battle of the 
Cephisus, the remnant of the French cavaliers who had formerly 
overthrown the Greek empire. The Aragonese succeeded in 
rendering their liberties secure and respected by their chiefs. 
&en the kings themselves were under the dominion of a supreli^fs 


judffe, called the JusticiUy who girt on thé sword io their support* 
if thej were faithful, and against them, if they abandoned their 
doty. The foor members of the Cortes, by virtue of the privi- 
lège of' union, similar to that of the Confederation of Poland, had 
the power of legally oppoi>ing force and resiittaiice to any usurped 
authority. Their religious freedom was equal to their civil im- 
munities ; and, to preserve it, the Arag^ese did not scruple to 
brave, for the space of two centuries, the Papal excommunications* 
This bold and troubled life, this constant success in every enter- 
prise, this national glory, which was continually increasing, were 
much better fitted to inflame the imagination, and to sustain a 
poetical spirit, than the prudent, but confined and citizen-like life of 
the good people of Toulouse. Many celebrated Troubadours 
issued from^ the kingdoms of Âra);on and Catalonia, during the 
twelfth and' thirteenth centuries ; and on the extinction of the 
Troubadours, the Aragonese displayed a new kind of talent. The 
Provençal, or rather t^ Catalan, literature did not die with the 
poets of Provence. 

One of the most celebrated of those who cultivated the art of 
poetry, after the disappearance of the Troubadours, was Don 
Henri d'Aragon, Marquis ot ViUena, who died in 1434, at an ad- 
vanced age. His marquisite, the most ancient m Spain, was situ- 
ated on the confines of the 'kingdoms of Castile and Valencia ; 
md, in fact, ViUena belonged to both the monarchies. In both, 

^ he filled the most important offices, and governed them alternately 
during the minorities of their princes ; and in both, after having 
been the favourite of the kings, be whs persecuted and despoiled 
of his property. During his administration, he made some at-* 
tempts to awaken a taste for letters, and to unite the study of an- 
cient literature to the cultivation of Romance poetry. He per- 
suaded John !., of Aragon, to establish, in his states, an academy, 
similar to the Floral Games of Toulouse, in order to rean>mat« 
the ardour of the Troubadours, who were now rapidly declining. 
The Academy of Toulouse despatched, in the year 1390, two 
Dociorê of Love to Barcelona, to found in that city a Branch Aca- 

* demy. All the rules, the laws, and the judgments of Love were 
adopted, and the Floral Games commenced at Barcelona ; but the 
civil war soon afterwards interrupted them. Henri de ViUena, 
on the establishment ef peace, attempted to reopen his favourite 
academy at Tortosa. In the midst of all the occupations in wlùch 
his turbulent political career engaged him, he found time to write 
a treatise on poetry for this academy, which he entitled De la 
Gaya Ciencia, and in which he explained, with more erudition 
thaa taste, the laws which the Troubadours had observed ia the 
composition of their verses, and which the Italians, in their appli- 
cation of them, were now beginning to refine? Notwithstanding 
all his exertions, his academy was of short duration, and expired, 
probably, with himself. ViUena likewise composed, about the 
year 1412, a still more curious work. It was a comedy ; proba^ 


I _^ 


\)\y the only one ever wriUen in the Provençal lunguage, and one 
of the first which we find in modern hterature. It was composed 
on oc<^a»ion of the marriage of the King of Aragon, Ferdinand I. 
Tïté characters were all allegorical, such' as Truth, Justice, 
Peace, and Mercy ; and the work, no doubt, possessed very lit- 
tle interest. It is, however, not the less an object of curiosity, 
as having prepared the way, together with the French mysteries 
and moralities, for thnt career which more modern poets have run 
with so much glory. 

Ausias March, ofYalencia, who died about 1450, is entitled to 
the second place among the Catalan Poets. He has been called 
the Petrarch of Catalonia, and is said to have eqnalled the lover' 
of Laura in elegance, in brilliancy of expression, and in harmony ; 
and while, like him, he contributed to the formation of his lan- 
guage, which he carried to a hij^h degree of polish and perfection, 
he possessed more real feeling, and did not suffer himself to be se- 
duced by a passion for concetti and false biillijincy. By a strange 
coincidence of circumstances, we are also told, that his poetry, like 
Petrarch's, forms t wool isses ; the pieces composed during thejife 
of his mistress, and those which were writtf^n on her death. The 
lady, whose name was Theresa de Momboy, was of a noble family 
ja Valencia. Like Petrarch, also, Aosias March beheld his mis- 
tress, for the first time, during the celebration of service, in a 
jchurch, on Good-Friday ; unless wa mu!<t suppose that this was a 
fictitious circumstance, adopted by the poet in imitation of bis 
great master. His Theresa, however, did not resemble Laura in 
one point, for she was unfaithful to her lover ; from which we 
must conclude that she was at one period ntt^hed to him. 

Although Ausias MHrch is one of the few OiKalan poets whose 
works i have been able to procure, >et a rapid and imperfect pe- 
rusal of poems, written in a foreignlanguage, has scarcely qualified 
me to pass any judgment upon his compositions. Yet the simila- 
rity between Petrarch and this poet appears to me very surprising. 
Ausias March evidently possesses more of the spirit of French 
literatttre than of the Romance taste. He seems to be infinitely 
less studious, than the Italians generally are, of employing those 
real or fictitious ornaments of poetry, comparisons and concetti. 
From thought and philosophy, on the contrary, he derives his 
principal beauties. Instead of colouring all his ideas, so as to 
make them harmonize with the senses, he generalizes them, he 
reasons upon them, and often loses himself in abstraction. Al- 
though his language di6fers trom the French more than that of the 
Troubadours, its construction is much more clear. In his verse, 
he has preserved, with great correctness, the forms and the metres 
of the anci^ent poets. The collection of his works, which is di- 
vided into three parts, Poems on Love^ Poems on Deathy and Moral 
Poems, contains merely songs, which are usually in seven stanzas, 
followed by an envoy, which he calls a iornada. It is due to the 
high reputation of Ausias March, which has been too long forgotten, 

To». I. 17 


to his admitted superiority over all the writers of the Provencal 
iaagaage, and to the extreme rarity of hîâ works, to present a feir 
fragments of them to the reader. In the second of his Love son^, 
he tells us that his heart vacillated a long time betweien twoY^i^ 

As he who seeks for viands to appease 
His hunger, and beholds, on some fair tree, 
Two ruddy apples bloom deliciously, 

On both of which he eagerly would seize, 

Is forced, ere he the luscious dainty proTe, 
To choose or this or that ; even so am I 
Smit with the love of two fair dames, and sigb 

That I must choose, ere I can taste of loTe.*^ 

As when the 9ea groans heavily and cries, 
When two contending winds sweep o'er its breast, 
One from the east, the other from the west, 

Till -the one yielding to the other, dies. 

Even. so two mighty passions, angrily, 
HaTe long contended in my breast, until 
Obeying the high dictates of my will, 

I followed one — that one, was love to thee ! 


There is, generally, much nature in the expression pf Ausias 
March ; and this, instead of injuring the vigour of the sentiment, 
adds to its vivacity, even more than the most brilliant metaphors 
could have done. The following stanza appears to be an illustra- 
tion of this remark. 

Abandoning the Troubadours' false Terse, 
Who trespass o'er the modest bounds of truth, 
1 must repress the wishes of my youth. 

Since words are vain thy virtues to rehearse.! 

^ Axi com cell qui des^a vianda 
Per apagar sa perillosa f^m, 
Ë veu dos poms de fruyt en un bell ram 
% son desig egualment los demanda, 
Nol complira fins part hsya legida 
Si que I'desig vers l'un fruyt se decant ; 
. Axi m'a près dues dones amant, 
Mas eleg^sch per haver d'amor vida. 

Si com la mar se plang greument e crida 
Com dos forts vents la Eaten egualment, 
Hu de Levant e I'altre de Ponent, 
£ dura tant fins I'um vent la jequida 
Sa força gran per lo mas poderos : 
Dos grans dezigs ban combatut ma pensa, 
Mas lo voler vers un seguir dispensa ; 
To I'vos publich, amar dretament vos. 

t Leixant a part le stil dels trobados 
Qui per escalf trespasen veritat, 
E softtrahent mon voler afiêctat 
Perque nom trob dire 1' que trobe en vos. 


ÂU I could say to thoie, who know th«e not, 

Were little worth ; they could not credit me ; 

And those that knowing thee, lire not for thee, 
Did they beliefe, how std would be their loL 

in the elegies {Obret de Mori) of (his poet, t'Mere is a tranqail- 
lity and reflection, a sort of philosophical grief, which, though if, 
perhaps, is not quite just, gi?es an idea of deep feeling. 

The hands, which never tpare, have match'd theehsDce, 

Cutting the frail thread of thj lender life. 

And bearing thee from out this scene of strife, 
Obedient/still to fate's dark ordinance. 
All that I see and feel now turns to pain, « 

When I remember thee I loved so well ; 

Tet, from the griefs that in my bosom ^ell, i 

I seem to snatch some taste of bliss again ; 
Thus, fed by tender joy, my grief shall last : 
tJnfed, the deepest sorrow soon is past.* 

Within a gentle heart love never dies ; 

He fades in breasts which guilty thoughts distress/ 

And fails the sooner for his own excess ; 
But lives, when rich in virtuous qualities. 
When the eye sees not, and the touch is gone, 

And all the pleasures Beauty jfields are o'er, 

Howe'er the conscious su^erer may deplore. 
We know that soon such sensual griefs are flowii. 
Yirtuous and holy love links mind to mind ; 
And such is ours, which death cannot unbind. * 

Tot mon parlar als que no us havran vista 
Res nby valvra^ car té noy donaran ; 
E los vehents que dins vos no vevran 
£n crevre mi lur alma sera triste< 

Aqoelles mans que james perdonaren 
Han ja romput lo fill tenint la vida 
De vos, qui son de aquest mon exida 
Segons los fats en secret ordenaren. 
Tot quant yo veig e sont dolor me torna 
Dant me recort de vos que tant amava. 
En ma dolor, si prim e bes eereava 
Si trobara que 'n délit se contoma. 
Donchs durara, puii té qui la sosting, ** 
Car sens délit dolor cresch nos retinga. 

En cor gentil amor per mort no passa, 
Mas en aquell qui sol lo vici tira ; 
La quantitat d' amor durar no mira. 
La 4tialitat d* amor bona no 's lassa. 
Quant V ull no veu e lo tocfa no pratica 
Mor lo voler que tot por el se guanya, 
Qui*fl tal punt es dolor sent molt e stranya 
Mas dura poch qui 'n passau testifica. 
Amor honest los sancts amant fa coire 
D'aqueet vos am, et mort nol me pot tolre. 


We are astonished at iinding the poet, whose boast it was that 
he had never lo?ed his mistress, Theresa, with a dishonourable 
passion, expressing doubts as to her saU ation, certainly incompa- 
tible with that admiration for a beloved object which sanctifies all 
hier acts in our eyes. In one of his elegies, be says : 

The heavy grief, which wordi can never tell, 
Of him* who dies, and knows not if the hand 
0/ God will place him on the heavenly strand. 

Or bury him beneath the vaults of>hell — 

Such grief my spirit feels, unknowing what 
Of good or ill, God has ordained to thee ; 
Thy bliss is mine, and mine thy misery : 

Whate'er betide thee, still I share thy lot.* 

When once the mind is struck with the terrific idea, that salva^ 
tion or condemnation must depend on the last moments of life, the 
frightful belief destroys all our trust in virtue ; and Ansias March, 
HI the wanderings of his brain, abandoned the mistress, whom he 
had worshipped as an angel upon earth, to the ministers of celes- 
tial vengeance. Sometimes, he seems determined to share her 
lot^ though she should be devoted to eternal torments : 

On thee my joy and sorrow both depend. 

And with thy lot God jwills that mine should blend.t 

It is not merely in these melancholy presentiments that the pas- 
sion of Ausias March assumes a religious cast. On all occasions, 
it displays a spirit of exalted piety, and acquires, from that circunr- 
stance, a more touching character. The death of his beloved 
friend, far from weakening his attachment, seems only to have su- 
peradded to it a nobler feeling of religion. 

As when rich gold, fresh gather'd from the mine, 
Is mix'd with metals ralueless and base, 
Till, purged within the fire some little space, 

The alloy flies off, and leaves it pure and fine ; 


La gran dolor que lengua no pot dir 
Del qui s' veu mort e no sab hon ira, 
No sab son Deu si per a si V voira 
O si n' infern lo voira sebellir. 
Semblant dolor lo meu esperit sent. 
No sabent que de vos Deus ha ordenat ; 
Car vostre mal o be a mi es dat, 
Del que havreu, yo n' saré soffirent. 

t Qoig o tristor per tu he yo complir, 
£n tu esta quant Deu me voira dar. 

t Azi com 1* or quant de la mena V trahen 
Esta mesclat de alcres metalls sutzens, 
% mes al foch en fum s' en va la liga 
liieyzant 1' or pur, no podent se corrompre. 



So death has banished everjr grosser stain 
Which markM my passion ; and my earthly love 
Has changed into such hope of bliss above, 

Thât^nothing but the holiest thoughts remain. 

While the poet is reasoning, with apparent coldness and philo-^ 
sophic spbtlety, on the circurnstdnce upon which his life depends» 
Ill's grief sontetimes bursts from him with violence, and prompts 
bim to the most passionate expressions. 

O God! why will not then this bitter draught 

Destroy the wretch who saw his mistress die ? 

How sweet would be my murtal agony, 
Remembering her for whom the cup was qaaiTMf 
. Pity ! why sleep'at thou, when I waste in grief 7 

Why break'st thou not the heart which torments sear? 

Thou must be powerless, if thou éost not hear, 
Or cruel, if thou wilt not grant relief.* 

Although the works of many other poets of Valencia are said to 
have been printed, 1 have never met with them in a separate form,- 
lam only acquainted with them, as they exist in the ancient Spanish 
cancioneri. We there find specimens of Vicent Ferradis, Miqael 
Perez, Fenolfar, Casteivy, and Vinyoles ; and these enable as to 
perceive that true taste was little cultivated at that period. Ausias 
March, indeed, appears to have been inspired with real feeling ; 
but the rest courted ingenuity and wit, and oflen false wit. Of 
this description, is a little poem, which is reprinted in all the can- 
cionéri^ by Vicent Ferradis, on the name of Jesus, in which, we 
are told, the deepest piety may be found mingled with the most 
beautiful poetry. We may judge of this production by the follow- 
ing stanza, which contains an anagram on the letters 1. H. S« Jesus 
Hominum Salvator* 

Triumphant name ! presenting yisibly 

The glorious picture of the crucifixion ! 
1.0 ! in the midst, the H, which legibly 

Points out the God who died 'neath this infliction'i 

Axi la mort mon voler gros termena ; 
Aquell fermât, en la part bontra sembla 
D* aqnella, que la mort al mon la tolta, 
JJ honest TQler en^mi reman sen mezcla. 

O Deu perc/ je no romp la *marga fel 
Aquell qui i eu a son amich périr ! 
Quant mes puis rois tan^dolça mort sofirir, 
Gran saboy ha, puix se pren per tal zel. 
Tu pietat i om dorms en aquelhcas? 
Quel cor û 9 earn fer esclatar no sais ? 
No tens po \er quen tal temps lo acabs* 
Qual tant crlSIl qu' en tal cas not lloas. . 

m ON T0S iaTKB4TUa£ 

The Mpifate «aifci hÎ0 wivi all dîme ; 

The 1 Md 8, the thieres m either hani. 
Who with their Oeyienr 4o their breath reei_ 

The ftepe deoete the two, who iiul^ t^»mt, 
John end the Vlisiii Merj, et tk% feet 
Of the Bedeeaer» iwhiaf; hie deelh eweet* 

la Te^ ^w of the prodactionti of the poets of Valencia, do we 
find aojr remaios of the old simplicitj and sensibilitj. There is, 
bowe?er, fomethiog a|»proachiog to them, id the following stanza 
of Mosien Vinyoles. 

Whefe ie ti|e daj» the mnaent» ani the hoar, 

WbereoA I lost mj omeh-lored iibertir ? 

Where are the ■naiee which ao iaveigMd oie ? 
Where are the ilb for whieh theie ealt teara ihower ? 
Where le the good I tought with m maeh pride t 

Where if the bond of habit's firm eoonesioB 7 

Where b the boondleu loTe, the fond affection, 
WUçjk mde m» doabt of ererj thiD|p besidc^t 

It is almost from a sense of dnty that I hare selected and trans- 
Ifited a few specimens of these amatorj poems ; passionate feel- 
iogSf breathing in a foi^otten langaagej' tender attachments and 
fond regre^, confided to the custpdy of poetry, which posterity 
regards not These old Catalonian poems jbaTe always seeiped to 
Ip^ lil^e inscriptions upon tombs. 

Whilst Aasias JMarch is considered by the Catalans, as the Pe- 
trach of the Proyeoçal language, John Atartorell is said to be its 
^ccaçio. It is to him that their light style of prose copiposition 
is attributed. To him, it its pliancy and nature, and its 
adaptation to the purposes of graceful narration. His work en- 
joys, eVen beyond his own coiintry, a considerable reputation. 
It is a romance entiUedi Tirante the fVkite^ and it is mentioned by 

Nov trfhomffil ^eas présenta Wsible 

Del cniciilz la bella circunf tancia, 

En mig la k que nos letra legible 

L' innens Ja mort, tractât lilment y orrible. 

La title d' alt de dirinal sustancia. 

La J 7 la # los ladres presenteh 

A les dos parts per fer' fi companyîa, 

Y pels eostata dos pants pne s* àposenten, 

Denoten dar los dbs que I' turmenf lenteri 

Del redemptor, Joban y la ~ ' 

t On es lo jorn, on es lo pvnt y Pora 
On yo perdy los bSns de Ilbertat ? 
On es lo lac qn* azim me catitet ? 
On es lo mal per qui ma lengua plora'? 
On es lo be que m* Ai tant desigar? 
On es r engan de tanta eonezença ? 
On es lo grat amor y bentolénça 
Que del pas cert me fa deeesperar ? 



Cervaotef, with great praise» in bis catalogae of Don Qjsixote's 
library, and called by him '* a treagare of rooteotment, a mine. of 
delight, and, with regard to «tyle, the bent book In the world.** 
John Afartorell appears to have given it to the public about the year 
1436, and it was one of the 61-st hooks which was printed on the 
introduction of that art into 8p»tn. The first Catalai. edition is 
that of Valencia, 1480, in folio It was translated into various 
languages, and the French version is to be found m alaiost everj 

It is Hifficolt to separate a work of chivalry, like this, from its 
class, and to judge of it intiependently of other compositions of 
the same kind. Martorell is posterior to many other Komancé 
writers ; to the authors of the romances of thf* Round TabU^ and 
of those of Charlemagne. In Tirante the White^ we find less of 
fairy -land, and fewer supernatural wonders than in its predeced- 
sors. The action t» more grave, the tenor of the story more con** 
sistent ; and, although the hero, from the rank of a simple knight, 
becomes Emperor of i 'onnt mtinopfe, we can follow and compre- 
hend his elevation, as wt'll a» bis achievements. On the othet 
hand, there is, perhaps, less poetry ; and fewer inf^tances oceor of 
a brilliant imagination than in the Atnadis^ the Tnfston, and the 
Lancelot» Martorell occupies, in fact, the middle place between 
the ancient and modern Romance writers. Other poets and Ro- 
mance writers succeed^'d him ; and the Catalans mi^ntioo with 
praise, Mostien Jaume Royg of ir<il«'nciH. who wrote a long poem 
on coquetry, in a very bitter st>le ;* the two Jonli ;t Febrer, the 
historian of Valencia; and, lastly, Vincent Garzian, the rector of 
Balfogona, who died at the commenrement oi the seventeenth 
century, and who was the Ust poet of Catalonia, or Valencia, who 
wrote in the Provençal language. The increasing prosperity of 
the Kings of Aragon was fatal both to the language and to the 
liberties of their subjects^ Ferdinand the Catholic married Isa- 
bella of Castile ; and that princess, on mounting the throne of 
Castile, in 1474, virtually divided her crown with her hosband. 
The nionarch> ot Castili» whs more powerful than that of Arqgon; 
its capital was more brilliant, ami its revenues wen> more consip 
derable. The courtiers were drawn to MailriH by their interest, 
and all the nobility of Spain conceived it necessary to learn the 

* [A spscimen of this poet's compositions may be found in the article on the 
Poetical Literature oî Spain, belore alluded to. Rttrtsptctvot Review, vol. in 
p. 64.— 2V.] 

t [It should be observed, that Mossen Jordi de Sant Jordi, is contended, bj 
the Catalonians, to have flourished as* early as the thirteenth eentury , twp 
fienturies before Ausias March, and in the most splendid era of the Provençal 
Troubadours. Ihe question turns chiefly on the circuni!»tance of some of his 
verses coinciding almost literally with part of one of Petrarch's sonnets, and it 
is yet to be decided who is the original. Sec the whole piece, and some fytv 
iwa particulars, in the ftetroeptetwe Review^ vol. iv. p. 46.-* 7r.] 


language of Castile Even the Catalans» and the Aragonese, who, 
for 80 long a ppridd, had placed the highest value on their lan- 
guage, and who, bj a fundamental law, had required, in the reign 
of James I. (1266, 1276,) that it should be substituted for the 
Jjatin in all public proceeding;», now abrinrfoned it, and suffered it 
to perish, from motives of pergonal ags^r mdizement. It was from 
those provinces that, in the reigns of Charles V. and Philip, Bos- 
can and Argensola issued, who can^^ed a revolution in Spanish 
poetry. But when the Gatrilms, unable to offer further resistance 
to the despotic dominion of the House of Austria, and resolving 
to cast off that odious yoke, delivered themselves up to France, 
foj the treaty of Péronne, they petitioned for the restoration of 
their ancient and noble language, beggings that it alone might be 
employed in all the acts of government and public transactions. 
They regretted their language as well as (heir lawi>, their liberties^ 
their prosperity, and their ancient virtue, all of which had passed 
away. The most powerful bQi^d which attaches a people 'to their 
inanners, their customs, and their sweetest associations, is the- 
language of their fathers. The deepest humiliation to which, 
they can be subjected, is to be comp« Ited to forget it, and to learn 
a new tongue. 

There certafnly is, even to a foreigner, something peculiarly 
melancholy in the decay and d<^structton of a beautiful language. 
That of the Troubadours, so long esteemed for its sonorous and 
harmonious character, which had awakened the enthusiasm, the 
imagination, and the genius, of so large a portjon of Europe, and 
which had extended itself not only over France, Italy, and Spain, 
but even to the courts of England and of Germany, no longer 
meets the ears of men who are worthy of listening to the sound. 
It is still spoken in the South of France ; but so broken up into 
dialects, that the people of Gascony, of Provence, and of Langoe- 
doCf no longer suspect that tliey are speaking the same tongue. 
It is the basis of the Piedmontese ; it is spoken in Spain from 
Figuieras to the kingdom of Murcia ; and it is the language of Sar- 
dinia and the Balearic Isles. But, in all these various countries, 
every man of education abandons it for the Castilian, the Italian, 
or the French; and to speak in the language which boasts of 
poets, who have been the glory of their country, and to whom we 
are indebted for modern poetry, is avoided as ridiculous and 

In finishing our inquiries into the language and literature of the 
Troubadours, let us not judge them too severely, on account of 
the slight impression, and the few brilliant recollections which 
they leave on our memory. We ought not to forget, that the age 
in which they lived was degraded by ignorance and by almosj 
universal barbarism. It is impossible, in analyzing their works, 
not to compare them continually with the .French poets in the 
reign of Louis XiV., with the Italians during the age of Leo X., 
with the English of Queen Anne's time, and with the German 


poète of the present day. Yet this comparison is certainly unjust. 
Whilst the Troabadonrs must decidedly yield to the gi'eat masters 
of our modern literature, they are, nevertheless, much superior 
to the versifiers of their time in France, Italy, England, and Ger- 
maoy. A fatality seems to have attended their language ; de- 
stroying the sovereign houses which spoke it, dispersing the no- 
bility who gloried in its use, and ruining the people by ferocious 
persecutions. The Provençal, abiindoned in its native country 
by those who were best able to cultivate it, at the precise point 
of time when it was about to add to its poets, historians, critics, 
and distinguished prose-iyriters ; discountenanced in the territo- 
ries which had been newly gained from the Arabians, and confined 
between the proud Oastilian and the sea, perished, at last, in the 
kingdom of Valencia, at the very period when the inhabitants of 
those provinces, once so free and haughty, were deprived of their 
liberties. This school of poetry, the only light <imid the clark- 
oess of universal barbarism, and the bond which, combining noble 
minds in the cultivation of high sentiments, formed so long the 
common link of union among different nations, has lost, in our 
eyes, all its charms and its power. We can no longer be deceived 
by the hopes which it held forth. The songs which seem to con- 
tain the germ of so many noble .works, and to which that expecta- 
tion gave so much interest, appear cold and lifeless, when we re- 
flect how unproductive they have been. 


lo p. 120, is mentioned a warlike song to rouse tM persecuted Provencals to 
resist the plundering inrasion which St. Louis was directing against them, un- 
der the preteace of a zeal for religion and social order. A friend furnishes us 
with a translation of this piece, which is now rery curious, as showing the 
light in which some of his contemporaries viewed the hypocrisy and cruelty of 
this St JjOUU^ whose God is, in the year 1823, invoked in support of similar 

rU make a song, shall body forth 

My full and free complaint. 
To see the heavy hours pass on, 
And witness to the feint 
Of coward souls, whose vows were made 
In falsehood, and are yet unpaid ; 

Yet, noble Sirs, we will not fear. 
Strong in the hope of succours near. 

Yes ! full and ample help for us 

Shall come, so trusts my heart ; 
God fights for us, and these our foes. 
The French, must soon depart. 
For, on the souls that fear not God, 
Soon, soon shall fall the vengeful rod : 
Then, noble Sirs, we will not fear, 
Strong in the hope of succours near. 
Vol. L 18 



And Utt«r «bey belii«i to 

(The treacherous, bate Cmaadcn !) 
Bat, e!en ae qaiekly a« they come, 
We'll chase those fierce tat adcn ; 
Without a shelter they ihail fly ^ 
Before oar Taliant ehivaliy : 

Then, aoble Sirs, we will not fear, 
Strong in the hope of snccovrs near. 

And e'en if Frederic, on the throne 

Of poitfierfiil Germany, 
Snhmits the emel ravages 
Of Louis' hosts to see ; 
Yet, in the breast of Bnjiand's King, ^ 
Wrath, deep and Tengefol, shall npspnag; 
Then, noble Sirs, we will not fear, 
Strong in the hope of socconrs near. 

Not mnch those neck and holy men. 

The traitorous Bishops, moarn. 
Though from our hands the sepulchre 
Of our dear Lord be torn ; 
More tender far, their anxioos care 
For the rich plunder of Belcaire : 

But, noble Sirs, we will not fear. 
Strong in the hope of snccours near. 


And look at our proad Cardinal, 

Whose hours in peace are past ; 
Look at his splendid dwelling-place, 
(Pray heaven it may not last !) 
He heeds not, while he ttves in state. 
What ills on Damietta wait : 

But, noble Sirs, we will not fear. 
Strong in the hope of suceours near» 

I cannot think that Avignon 

Will loee iU holy seal 
In this our cause, so ardently 
Its citizens can feel. 
Then, shame to him who will not bear, . 
In this our glorious cause, his share !— 
And, noble Sirs, we will not fear. 
Strong in the hope of Mceonrs near. 



OntheStmuM-WtlIoa, orLtagne d'Oïl, ladoa tin RomMMof Chhrtlrf. 

It it ^at the design of this work to treat of the langaage and 
literature: of France. On that subject, many agreeable and pro- 
found works have been written, which are in the hands of ererj 
one ; and it would be an useless task to repeat, in a curtailed and 
imperfect manner, all that has been said on this subject, with so 
much justice and liveliness, by Marmontel, La Harpe, and others. 
The elder period of French literature has» howeveri something 
of a foreign character. Our poets, the heirs of the Trouvèret, 
did not accept the inheritance which devolved upon them ; and 
the language of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries sufficiently^ 
varies from our own, to render many of the literary remains of 
that period inaccessible to most of my teaders. It is, moreover, 
almost- impossible to speak of the Troubadours, without giving 
some account of the Trouvères ; or to inquire into the origin and 
progress of the Romance- Provençal, without, at the same time, 
disc arsing of the Romance- Wallon. , 

It is not necessary to refer so far back as the Celtic, for th^ 
first origin of French literature. That language, which had been 
long forgotten, could have had littl*? influence upon the characters 
of those, whose ancestors had spoken it. When the Franks con- 
quered Gaul, it is probable that the Celtic was only lo be found 
in some of the districts of Brittany ; where, indeed, it has remain- 
ed to the present day* That mother-tongue, which appears to 
have been common to France, to Spain, and to the British Isles, 
has so completely disappeared, that we are no longer able to as- 
certain its peculiar character. Although it is regarded as th^ ' 
mother of the Baa-Breton^ of the Gaslic of Scotland, of the Welsh, 
and of the dialect of Cornwall, yet the analogy which eiists be- 
tween those languages can with difficulty be de6ned ; nor is their 
common derivation discoverable. In <dl the provinces of Gaul, 
the Latin had taken place of the Cteitic, and bad become, among 
the people at large, a sort of native tongue. The massacres, 
which accompanied the wars ofJuliqs Cesar, the subjection of 
the vanquished, and the ambition of those Gauls who procured 
the pi*ivileges of Roman citizens, all concurred to produce a 
changé in the manners, the spirit, and the language, of the pro- 
vinces situated between the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Rhine. 
From that country, accomplished Latin scholars and celebrated 
teachers of rhetoric and grammar, proceeded ; while the people 
at large acquired a taste for Roman' spectacles, and ornamented 
their principal cities with magnificent thei^tres. Four hapdr^d 



aod fifty years ofsnbmiasion to the Roman yoke, caused an intimate 
unioD between the Gaals and the inhabitants of Italy. 

The Franks, who spoke a Northern or German dialect, intro- 
duced a new idiom among the Gauls. This intermixture soon 
corrupted the Latin, which suffered. still more from ignorance and 
barbarism ; and the Gaols, who called themselves Romans^ be- 
cause they imagined they spoke the language of Rome, aban- 
doned all the refinements of syntax for the simplicity and rudeness 
of a barbarian tongue. In writing, an attempt was still made to 
keep alive the Latin ; but, in conversation, every one gradually 
yielded to the prevailing habit, and dropped the use of letters and 
terminations, which were regarded as superfluous. Even at the 
present day, we exclude, in the pronunciation of the French lan- 
guage, a fourth part of the letters which we use in writing. Af- 
ter the lapse of socfie time, a distinction was drawn between the 
language of the Ronmn subjects and that of the Latin writers ; 
and the Romance language, founded on the first, and the Latin lan- 

Siage, perpetuated by the latter, were recognised as distinct, 
utthe former, which occupied several centuries in its formation, 
had no name as long as the conquerors preserved the use of the 
German. At the commencement of the second race of monarchs*, 
German was still the language of Charlemagne and his court. 
That hero spoke, say the historians of the time, the language of 
bis ancestors, pat rtum sermonem; and many French writers have 
fallen into a strange error, in supposing that the Francisque signi- 
fied the old French. But, whilst the German Mcas employed in 
conversation, and in^martial and historical poems, Latin was the 
writtefl language, and the Romance, still in its state of barbarism, 
was the dialect of the people. 

In the reign of Charlemagne, too, the great difference between 
the language of the common people and the Latin, compelled the 
church to preach in the vulgar tongue. A Council, held at Toura, 
in 813, directed the bishops to translate their homilies into the two 
languages of the people, the rustic Romance and the Tkeotisque^ or 
German. This decree was confirmed by the Council of Aries, 
in 851. The subjects of Charlemagne were composed of two 
very different races ; the Germans who inhabited along and be- 
yond the Rhine, and the Walloons who called themselves Ro- 
mans, and who alone, of all the people of the South, were under 
the dominion of the Franks. The name of Waelchs, or Walloons, 
which was given them by the Germans, was the same as that of 
Galli or Galaiai^ which they received from the Latins and Greeks, 
and of Keltat, or Celts, the name which, according to Cesar, 
they themselves acknowledged."* The language which they 

* All these names differed only in. the pronunciation ; but the Bas-Bretons, a 
remnant of the Celts, presenred In their language another celebrated name, of 
a different origin, and which was, perhaps, with them an honourable title. 
They called themselves CimbrU 


spoke, was caUed after them the Aomanct-fFatfon, or mstic Ro- 
mance ; aod it was pretty much the same throughout all France, 
except that, as it extended southward, a nearer approach to the 
LatiD was perceptible; whilst, on the North, the German pre- 
Tailed. In the partition, made in 842. among the' children of 
Loais the Débonnaire, the common langoage was made use of, ibr 
the first time, in a public proceeding, as the people were a party 
to the transaction in taking the oath of allegiance to the King. 
The oath of Charles the Bald, and that of his subjects, are two of 
the most ancient remaining monuments of the Romance language* 
The langoage employed in them resembles the ProTen^al as 
much as that ivhich was afterwards called the Romance- Wallon. 

The coronation of Bozon, King of Aries, in 879, divided France 
into two portions, which continued rival and independent states, 
daring four centuries'. These provinces seemed destined to lie 
constantly inhabited by different races of men. CsBsar has re- 
marked, that in his time the Aquitani differed from the Celts» in 
language» manners, and laws. In the country of the former, the 
Visigoths and the Burgundians established themselves, and the 
Franks, in the territories of the latter ; while the division of the 
two monarchies, which took place at the end of the Carlovingian 
nice, only, perhaps, confirmed the ancient distinction between the 
people. Their language, though formed from the same elements, 
grew every day more assimiler. The people of the South called 
themselves llofiiae»-j9rooenf aux ; while the northern tribes added 
to the name of Romans, which they had assumed, that of fVadchtf 
or Wallons, which they had received from the neighbouring peo- 
ple. The Provençal was called the Langue d'Oc, and the Wallon 
the Langue d'Oil, or d'Oui, from the affirmative word of each lan- 
guage, as the Italian was then called the Laàgue de t », and the Ger- 
n^ao the Langue de ya* 

Normandy, li Province of France, was intaded, in the tenth cen- 
tury, by a new northern tribe, who, under the command of RoUo, 
or Raoul, the Dane, incorporated themselves with the ancient in- 
habitants. This mixture introduced into the Romance new Ger- 
man words and idioms. Yet the active spirit which led the con- 
querors to this province, their good laws, their wise administration, 
and their adoption of the language of the conquered, were the 
means of giving the Romance- Wallon, a more fixed form, and a 
greater polish, in Normandy, than in any other province of France* 
Rollo acquired the Dukedom in 912 ; and a century and a half 
later, one of his descendants, William the Conqueror, was him- 
self so much attached to the Romance- Wallon, and encouraged it 
8o-greatly among his subjects, that he introduced it into England, 
snd forced it upon the people by rigorous enactments, instead of 
tbeir ancient language, which nearly resembled that of his own an- 

It was from Normandy that the first writers and the first poets 
in the French language sprung* The laws which William the 


Conqaeit^r, who died in 14)87, impoMd «poo his Eaglish •ul^oejti, 
Atetke most iiocieDt«woFk in tm AoftiSMicse^ Wallon, «rhieh htti 
come down (o us. After this Jegal memofial; the two fint Utersiy 
works, which prove that the Langue d^Ooi w^ befiimiaff to he 
titivated, ate the Book ^tke Bri$09u^ or Btutmit a fabulons biatoiy 
of the Kings of England, written m verse, io 116Ô, and the Ho- 
Qâance of the Knigki of the Ldon, written at the ^ame praod, both df 
4ieiD in Normandy, or al least by Norman?*^ Le Rou dee Ao^* 
tnandf, or Le Lhre de AaonZ, composed by Gasse in 1160, aiad 
•wbidi gires a history of the establishment «à* that people in Nor- 
aandyi must be placed in the third rank. The period was not 
.gow Hir distant, when the romances of chivalry were to make their 
appearance in the same language. The first of these was Trietan 
deLéonùû^ written in prose, about the year 1 190. A few years af- 
terguards, appeared the romancef of Saint Greoal and Lancelot; 
-and these, likewise, proceeded either from Normandyi or from the 
Court of England. Before the-yea^ 1200, an anonymous translation 
of the Life of Charlemagne was made; and previously to 1918, 
deofi^ey de Ville hardouin had written, in the French language, a 
fiSstorjr of the Conquest of Constantinople. 

Among the difiereni works which appeared at this period, the 
poem of Alexander is that which has enjoyed! the greatest share 
of repntation. It was, probably, gifen to the world about Ûut 
year' 1210, in the r^ign of Philip Augustus ; as there are many 
flattering allusiods to incidents which occurred at the court m 
^at princet It is not the work of one individual only, but con- 
ieins e series of romances and marvellous hisliories, which are said 
to be the result of the labours ùt nine celebrated poets of thé 

* There are many copies of the Romance of Brotnt. That which I hare 
enmined, is in the Royal Library. It commences with the following fines : 

Qm Telt oir, qoi felt savoir 
De roi en roi et d'hoir en hoir 
Qui cil fusent, et dont Uê Tinrent 
Qui fingleterre primes tinrent, 
Qoeus rob y a en ordre en 
7ii ainçois et qai pois y Al, 

laistre Qasse l'a tifnilaté 
jii en conte la Vi^rité, 
Si que li lirres la devisent. 

The roaaaeer takes np his history sollîciently eaily. He t|iiis bqpos : 

For la Teniaace de Paris 

^ de Grosse rarit Hélène. 

«... r , , . j ^ 

In these and the subsequent eitracts, I bave not confined my«elf scmpa* 
lonsly to the ancient orthography. Although it may be essential to the study 
of the languige, it is not so to an acquaintance with the spirit of the ancient 
poetry. |y ehanging a Cbw latters, I hate probably aaved At seader auich 
QfOless dlffiçiplty. . 

O» THS m09T»RBfll. 


time. Thoae best )mo#D at tbe proieatdiiy an^ I^Ml^rl li C0l9| 
or the Little; Alexaàder de Beroay» who continued Lumhert^ 
aod, Thomas of Kent*. Alexander) perhapf thv ooljf hero of 
Ôreeçe^^who was koowo in the middle agei, il intrpd«ced, jnÉ 
sarroooded by the pomp of aqtiquity, bat by the s|deDdeurt of 
ehi|ra|ry« Of the different parts of this poem» oHie is cdle<} JU 
Rtmman» de toie CheveUtriê^ becfose. Alexander is répresenltd'aii( 
ity SB the greatest and noblest of cavalier*. Another b^ffs tlie 
title of L« Fœu du Paon, or The Vow of ^the Peacock* from Hi 
containing a description of the taking of the oath of ehif airy* aa i(t 
was practised at the co<irt of the Macedonian hero. The..hi|b 
renowD of this po^m, which wm upirersally read, nad tnmslstiiit 
into, seyeial langa^ges^ has given the name of Alesandrtnnt 
vers^ to the measure in which it is written ; a measure whidk 
the French have denominated the heroic* 

Thus, in the twelfth century, the Romance- Wallop became A 
literary language, subsequent» by at least a hundnfd years; to the 
Èoaiance<*provençal. The wars against th^ Albigenses^ whicb ift 
this period caused an intercourse between tho two bationa inlm 
which France was divided^ contribatedj protebly, to impire m 
taste for. poetry in that pro vince« which was the alost tadyfar 
epfMrj^ng from a sta^ of barbarism, ai|d which could boalt, Mlj 
towai^ the year 1220^, a poetical literature consisting of lyrical 
pieces, of son^, virelays» ballads, and tirvmU^* The reciter^ of 
ta^is» and the poets, givipg the nmie of Troubadour a French Cer* 
minatio», called thepnselves Trouvères.! . . . 

. Witfk the exception of the «Hfference of language* it may.bef 
thought Àat the Trouh^qr and the Trouvère, whose merit wai 
pretty Bf arjy equal ; who w^re equally igp^ant or well«infojrm«î 
ed; w.ho both of them spent their lives at conrtl« at which Ih^ 
compoised their poems» and where they mingled with kn^ghls and 

e !^ The poàns msotiaoêd shots, srtf ^ritlan ia méêê éi eight WDEMEi^: 
ihyflie^ two ^ni two, and rrtssrrina the dMaelion of a hi tniii b aa4 fcitiBiè» 
?iurset, bat without regarding tlie rale, which the Freneh pooti of the preeeal 
Aiy ohservo, of using them alternately. Nearly all the Fu>liaaz are written in' 
the same measure. The Alexandrine of twelve syllables, with the essora In 
the middle, divides itself geaerally, to the ear, into two lines of equal lengâi. 
Formeily it was even more monotonous and laboured than at present, for the 
poets i|sed frequent^ to leave a mote syllable in the middle of die verse, at the 
end of Âe caesura, 'fhe Italians, in their Leonine verses, and the Spanish, 
in tlieir verses de arte mayor, have die same monotonous defect* It may he 
observed in the commencement of the poem of JBexmiier. 

<^ vers de ri^hé estoire veut entendre et ohr^ 
^oor prendre bon exemple de prouesse caeilllr« 
La vie ^Alexandre, si com je ra trovéé 
£n phuieotB leus écrite et de boche contée. . • • &c. 

t We have elsewhere remarked, that in Frotencd, Ttéhiàn is thé neiiifaia» 
tive of Troubadours. 


ladies ; and who were both accompanied by their Jongleurs and 
minstrels, should have preserved the same resemblance in their 
productions. Nothing, however, can be more dissimilar than 
their poems. All that remains of the poetry of the Troubadours 
is of a lyrical character, while that of the Trouvères is decidedly * 
epic. The Provencals, it is true, have appealed against the 
judgment which has been passed upon the poets, to whom the 
partizans of the Trouvères have denied all the merit of invention. 
The former maintain that, it is evident that this charge is false, 
from the long catalogue of the tales, romances, and fables, with 
which it was the duty of the Jongleurs to be acquainted, in order 
to entertain the great, and which have since either been lost or 
are preserved in the Langue é'Oil. They further insist, that, 
among the poems of the Trouvères, many are to be found of Pro- 
vençal origiui which appears from the scene being laid 'in Pro- 
vence ; and they maintain that the Trouvères contented 
themselves with translating the romances and faèliauxy of which 
they were not the inventors. It seems, however, exceedingly 
unaccountable, that the songs only of the Provencals, and the totes 
of the French, should have been preserved, if the genius of the 
two nations, in this-respect, were not essentially distinct.* 

The biography of the Troubadours has' been frequently given 
to the public. The lives which were published by Noitr^damus, 
and the accounts collected by M. de Sainte-Palaye, and afterwards 
made known to the public by Millot, are, for the most part, highly 
romantic. They contain the history of their intrigues with noble 
ladies, of their sufferings, and of their chivalric achievements. 
The lives of the Trouvères are much more obscure. Scarcely 
have the names of any survived, nor is^the history of thé most 
celebrated individuals known. If a few anecdotes have been pre- 
served, they possess little either of interest or of adventure. 

The Trouvères have left us many romances of chivalry, and 
fabliaux; and upon the former, the twelfth and thirteenth cen- 
turies must rest their daims to^glory. The spirit of chivalry, 
which burst forth in these romances ; the heroism of honour and 
love ; the devotion of the powerful to the weak ; the noble purity of 
character, triumphing over all opposition, which is held forth as 

* [This must b6 taken ^with much qualification. A mere reference to the 
pages of Laborde's Essay on Music, will show that there are yet remaining, in 
manuscript, an immense number of lyric pieces of the Northern school. It is 
hardly safe to found any Tcry positive opinions on the absence of tales and ro- 
mances firom the manuscript collections of the Troubadours yet preaerred to 
us. It had often been a subject of wonder, that, notwithstanding the preva- 
lence of Troubadour poetry in Catalonia,* no remains of it were known to be 
pxesenred there. Yet a recent visit to the archives of ito éhurches, has shown 
that an immense quantity is yet in existence, though unpublished. Had it not 
been for the literary seal of one individual, the historian might now have as- 
serted, without feair of contradiction, that the Mimusmgers wrote no lyrical 
poetry. — TV.] 



a model in these works ; aod the lapernataral fictioRs, so Dovel 
and so dkifitnilar to erery thing which either witiquity or later 
times had phKloced, display a force and a brilliaRcy of imagioa- 
tioB, which, as nothing had prepared the way for them, seem 
quite inexplicable. 

After searching, mi all sides, for the inrentors of that diiralric 
spirit which bums in the romances of the ouddle ages, we are as- 
toaisbed to ohserre how sudden was that burst of genius. We in 
vain attenpt to discover, in the manners or in the traditions of 
the Germans, the birth of chivalry. That people, although they 
respected women and admitted them to their counsels and their 
worship, had still more deference than tenderness for the sex. 
Gallantry was unknown to them ; and their brave, loyal, but rude 
manners, could never have contributed to the developeoM^nt of 
the sentknent and heroism of chivalry. Their imagination was 
gloomy, snd their supemaiural world was peopled with malicious 
beings. The most ancient poem of Qermany, that of the Niebe- 
lungeuy in the form in which we at present find it, is posterior to 
the first French romances, and may have been modified by them. 
But the manners it. describes are not those of chivalry* Love acts 
no pari in it; for the warriors are actuated by fiir different inte- 
rests and far different passions from that of gallantry. Women are 
seldom introduced, and then not as objects of devotion ; while the 
men are sot softened down and civilized by their union with 
them. The inventors of the romances of chivalry, 6a the con- 
trary, have united in paintixig their heroes, as endowed with the 
most brilliant qualities of all the nations with which they had come 
in contact ; with the fidelity of the Germans, the gallantry of the 
French, and the rich imagination of the Arabians. 

It is to the last source, according to others, that we are to look 
for the priàiary origin of the romance of chivalry* At the fint 
view, this opinion appears to be natural, and to be supported by 
many facts. Some very ancient romances represent the system 
of chivalry as having been established among the Moors, as well 
as among the Christians, aod introduce Moorish knights ; whilst 
all the reciters of tales, the historians» and the poets of Spain, re- 
present the manners of the Moors as those of chivalry. Thus 
Ferragus, Ferraû, or Fier-à-bras, the bravest aod the most loyal 
of the Moorish knights, figures in the Chronicle of Turpin, which 
preceded all the romances of chivalry. The same chronicle af- 
firms, that Charlertiagne was dubbed a knight by Galslron, Emir 
(Admirsmtiia,) or Saracen prince of Goleto, in Provence^ So, 
Bernard Garpio, the most ancient hero of Christian Spain, sig- 
nalized faimselfi chiefly in the Moorish army, by his chiralrons 
deeds* The Uistqry of the civil wars of Grenada is a cbivalric 
reoMQ^e ; and, in the Draoa of Mootemayor, the only ^iralric 
adventpre which Is contained in that pastoral compoâitinn, is laid 
among the Moors* It is the history of Arbindarraes, one of the 
Abencerrages of Grenada, and the beautiful Xarifa. The ancient 

Vol. I. 19 


Spanish romances, and their oldest poem, the Cid, attribute the 
same maDners to the Arabians, as earlj as the twelfth ceniary* 
A^ that portion of Spain,, which was occupied by the Moors, was 
coFered with strong castles, built on all the heights ; und 
every petty prince, every lord, and even every cheik^ exercised 
an independent power. There certainly existed, in Spain, at 
least, a sort of .Arabian feudalism, and a spirit of liberty, very dif- 
ferent from that of Islamism. The notions on the point of hononr, 
which not only possessed a great influence orer the system of 
chivalry, but even over our modern manners, rather belonged to 
the Arabians than to the German tribes. To them, we owe that 
spirit of vengeance which has been so religiously observed, and 
that fastidious sensibility to insults and affronts, which has induced 
men to sacrifice not only their own lives but those of their fami- 
lies, to wash out a stain upon their honour ; and which produced 
the revolt of the Alpuxarra of Grenada in the year lô6S, and the 
destruction of fifty thousand Moors, to avenge a blow given by D. 
Juan de Mendoza to D. Juan de Malec, the descendant of the 

Devotion to the female sex, appears to be still peculiar to those 
nations, whose blood has felt the ardent influence of a burning 
sun. They love with a passion and an excess, of which neither 
our ordinary life nor even our romances present any idea. They 
regard the habitations of their wives as a sanctuary, and a reflec- 
tion upon them as a blasphemy. The honour of a man is deposit- 
ed in the hands of her whom he loveç^* The period, when chival- 
ry took its rise, is precisely that, when the moral feelings of the 
Arabians attained their highest pitch of delicacy and refinement. 
Virtue was then the object of their enthusiasm ; and the purity 
of the laagus^» and of Uie ideas of their authors, ought to make 
us ashamed of the corruption of our own. As a farther proof, of 
all the nations of Europe, the Spanish are the most chivalric ; and 
they alone were the immediate scholars of the Arabians. 

But, if chivalry be of Arabic origin, whence comes it, that we 
have so few traces of it in their writings Î Whence comes it, that 
we are not indebted to the Spanish and the Provencals, for our 
first romances ? and how does it happen, that the scene, in the 
earliest worics of that kind, is laid in France or England ; coun- 
tries, over which the Arabians had, certainly, never any in- 
fluence ? 

The romances of chivalry are divided into three distinct classes. 
They relate to three different epochs, in the early part of the 
middle ages ; and they represent three communities, three bands 
of &bulous heroes, who never had communication fi^ith each 
other. The origin and peculiar character of these three romantic 
mythologies, may, perhaps, throw considerable light on tbe»first 
invention of chivalry. 

In the romances of chivalry, of the first class, the ex:ploits of 
Arthur^ son of Pendragon, the last British king who defended 

op THS .TROUVEBfiS. 14T 

ËDghnd againtt the iovasions of the Anglo-SazonSy are celebrated. 
At the court of this king and his «wife GeDerra, we find the eo« 
chanter, Merlin ; and to it belonged the inttitatioa of the Roond 
Table, and the knights. Sir Tristan of Leonois,* Lancelot of the 
Lake, and naay others. The origin of this history may be traced 
in the Romance of Bmtiis, by Gsese, the text of which contains 
the date of 1155« In this fabulons chronicle, both King Arthur, 
and the Roand Table, and the prophet Merlini are to be found, t 
Bot it was the later romances which perfected this idea, and peo- 
pled the court of King Arthur with living beings, who were then 
as well known as the courtiers of Louis XIV. are to us. The 
jRomance of Merlin, who was said to be the son of the devil and 
a Breton lady, who lived in the reign of Vortiger, makes us ac- 
quainted with the wars of Uther and Pendragonr against the Saxons, 
the birth and youth of Arthur, the miracles with which the pro- 
phet of chivalry sanctified the establishment of the Round Table, 
and the prophecies which he left behind him, and to which all 
the subsequent Romance writers have had recourse. The Ro- 
mance of Saint-Gréaal) which is written in verse, hj Christian de 
Troy es, in the twelfth century, is a mixture of B>reton chivalry 
and sacred history. The cup out of which the Messiah drank, 
during hts crucifixion, was known to the Romance writers under 
the name of Saint-GréaaL They suppose it to have been carried 
ioto England, where it came into the possession of the knights of 
the Round Table, Lancelot of the Lake, Galaar, his son, Perci- 
val of Wales, and Boort, of whom the history of each is given.^; 

* [The Lyonnese, a part of Cornwall, no longer yisible above water. — TV.] 

t The author of the Romance of Brutus, who grounds himself upoo the au* 
thorily of more ancient histories, or rather Tersiiiers of all kinds of traditions, 
and every historical and poetical rumour which was afloat at the time, repre* 
senta Arthur and his twelve peers as treating with the Emperor of the Ro- 
mans : ' 

Artus fut assis à un dois. 

Environ lui eontes et rois, 

Et sont doze hommes blancs venus, 

Bien aternés et bien vestus. 

Deux et deux en ces palais vindrent 

Et deux et deux les mains se tindrent, 

Douze estoient, et douze Romains ; 

D'olive portent en lors mains. 

Petit pas ordinairement. 

Et vindrent moult avenamment. 

Parmi la sale trespassèrent, 

AI roi vindrent ; le saluèrent, 

De Rome, se disant, venoient, etc. 

MamMC, de la Bihlioth, du Roi. Cwiigé 97.- 

X The original Romance of Saint-Gréaal may be found in the Royal Library^ 
No. 7683. It is a very large manuscript volume, in 4to. written in donUte eo^ 
kimns, and containing nearly the whole history of the Ki^ts of the Roana 

448 Olf,Tȣ LlTEIUTUftE 

King Arthur, Gawain hU n^fAeif , PerlevaM, MpfaftW of King ^ 
cheur, Meliot de Ugv^i, aod Meliaus of De^Hosif k^ are tlic 
heroes of ttia illustrions court, whose adTenture*' are recouated 
by different Romance writer»^ with a carioflt mixture ofwmpli- 
city, grandeur, ' gallantry» and superstition. The Romance of 
Lancelot of the Lake was couameitced by Christian de Troy es, 
but continued, after his death, by Godfrey de Ligoy. The Ro- 
mance of Tristan, son of Kiog Meliadus of LeoMMts» the first 
which was wriUen in prose, and which is roost freqiftentlj cited by 
ancieat authors, was written, in 1 190, by a Trwivice whose Dame 
is forgotten.^ 

Tablt. It WM aflerwwda tramdated into prose, and printed tti G»** P«i«, 
1516, /o. Christian de Troyes, who origuiaUy composed it in Terse, may 
fairly be ranked among the best poets of the earlier ages of his langpiage. There 
is both harmony in the verses, and sensibility in the narrative. At the com- 
mencement of the Romance, we find a mother; who, after baring Tost her hiis- 
band and her two elder sons in battle, 8«taniptlng to pravent her 4hird (^d 
from taking np arms, and entering upon, the career of glory^ detai» bun jn a 
solitary castle, noTor allowing him to hear even the name of knight. The 
young gentleman, however, during one of his visits to the nei|j;hbouTinç pea- 
santry, aeoidentally meets with some ladies and knights-cnrant, andf u imme- 
diately seiaed with a lore of adveatm». After making his molbK r«P»^ to 
him the history of his funUy, he instantly sets off to bef^tha honpur of knight, 
hood from the King. 

Biaaz fils^ fait ellei dioR vios doint 
Joie ; plus que ne me'en remaint. 

Vous doint-il où que vous aillez 

Quand li varlet fu( éloigné, 
Le giet d' une pierre menue 
Se regarda, et vit chaûe 
Sa mère, au chief du pont arrière, 
Et fut pasmée en tel manière 
Gomme s' el fut pasmée morte. 

In another celebrated Romance, by the same Christian de Troyesy the au- ^ 
thor, with vast simplicity, delivers his opinion, that France had arrived at that 
period of glory and science which so greatly distinguished Rome and Greece. 
The passage is to be found at the commencement of the Romance of Alexan- 
der, the descendant of King Arthur. BtMldfA. tnmuisc. 7496. 8. 

Ge nos ont nos livres offris 
Que Grèce eut de chevalerie 
Le premier loz, et de cleigie ; (savoir) 
Puis vint chevalerie à Rome 
£t ja de clergie la some, 
Qui ore est eo France venue, 
Dieu doint qu'elle y soit retenue 
Et que li leus li abellisse^ 
Tant que ja de FraAoe oe isse 
L'onor qui s'y est arrêtée, 
^ Dont elle est prisée et dotée 
Mieux des Gréjois et des Romains. 

* Iii,the edilion of Paris, liiSS, in small folio, the first chapter thus coni- 
mencee : '' Je Luce chevalier, selgaenr da chasteaa da Gfi^ voyski prochain 

M «HE TmOÛVSEfil;. -* 141 

Wlieo we ezanine thit namcroas ûaoklj of berotSt and tbt 
aceoe» in whkh tbeir achievaneate are laid, we feel confirmed 
in the opinion that tbe NoroMuw are the real iaTentort of thii 
new cebool of poetry. Of all the people of ancient Europe, the 
Normans showed themseWes, daring the period which preceded 
the rise of the Rooiance literature, to l>e the nost adventuroas and 
Idtrepid. Their incarsioos, from Denmark and Norway» on the 
coastti of France and England, in open vessels, in which they 
travemed tbe nest dangerous seas, and sailing up the rivers, 
surprised natioas in the midst of peace, who were not even 
anrare of their etisftence, astonish and confound tbe imagina- 
tiouf by the audacity which they display. Other tribes of 
Normans, passing through the wild deserts of Russia, sword in 
hand, and cutting their way through a perfidious and sangainnry 
natioD) ftTpived al. Constantinople, where they became tbe guards 
of the Emperor. They purchased, with their bleod, tbe lum* 
rious fruits of the South v and, even at the present day, ** the love 
of figs" is a phrase in Iceland, signifying the roost vehement «p* 
petite, an appetite which impelled their forefathers to the wild- 
est adventuiies. Others of tbe Normans established themselves in 
Russia ; and tbeir unconquerable bravery, seconded by the aa* 
tivmê, soon rendered them exceedingly powerful. They there 
founded the dynasty of the Warags or the Warangiaas, which 
hateduntil the invasion of the Tartan. A powerful colony of Nor- 
manSy who established themselves in France, and gave tbeir own 
name to Neustria, adopted the language and the laws of tbe peo«> 
pie, in the midst of whom they lived ; without, however, ^an* 
cloning their taste for £nreign incursions. The conquests of these 
Normans astonish us by their hardihood^ and by tbe adventurous 
spirit which' seems to have actuated every individual. Al tbe 
commencement of the eleventh century, a few pilgrim advea* 
tarera, who were drawn by devotion and curiosity into tbe kin^ 
dom oif Naples, successively conquered La Puglia, Calabria, aod 
Sicily. Scarcely fifty years had elapsed from the period whett 
the Noram.ns first discovered the. way to these distant lands, when 
Robert Guiscard beheld, in the snne year, the Emperors of tbe 
East and'tfa « West flying before him. In the middle of the eleventii 
century», a Duke of Normandy conquered England ; and at tbe 
commencement of tbe next century, Boemond, another Norman, 
founded tbe principality of Antioch, The adventurers of the 
North were thus established in the centre of Syria. 

A people so active, so enterprising, and so intrepid, found no 
other delight in their leisure hours, than listening to tales of ad- 
Tentures, dangers and battles. Their ungovernable imaginations 

- — » . ■ I I il. - 

de Salesbiere en Angleterre, ay voulu rédiger et mettre en Tolume l'hiitoire 
aatentique des vertueux, nobles et glorieux faits du très-vaillant et reDoramé 
chevalier Tristan, fils du puyssant roy Meliadus de Leonnoys."*' The Chevalier 
Luce, however, is a new editor, and not ihe original author. 


Were dissatisfied, unless they were engaged in a game of hazard^ 
in which the stakes were haman lives. Nothing delighted them 
so much as to see some hero wandering alone^ combating alone, 
and gaining the victory by his single arm, as William Bras-de-fer, 
Osmond, Robert, Roger and Boemond had done, at a period which 
was then recent. Courage was valued by them, above every 
other quality. The other chivalric virtues were held in little 
estimation ; and the nation, whose great hero had assumed the 
surname of Guiscard, (the cunning, or the thief,) by no mean» 
punished treachery with the same severity as cowardice. Thus» 
in the romance of Lancelot, it is said that '^ his father had a neigh<" 
bour, who lived near htm in the county of Berry, then caHed the 
Desert. This neighbour's name was Glandas, and he was Lord of 
Bourges and the adjacent country. Claudas was a king, chivalric 
and wise, but wonderfully treacherous."* Love, which is to be 
found in'the poetry of every nation, formed a part of their narra^ 
tires. • But it was not love, with that mixture of constancy, purity , 
and delicacy which the Spanish romance writers have thrown around 
it ; and which, when awakened among the nations c^ the South, is 
the most tender and ardent of all passions. Nor was the superna- 
tural world represented with that beauty, which, from a better 
acquaintance with the fictions of the South, distinguishes the kter 
romances There were none of those genii, who dispensed, at 
will, all the wonders of art and nature ; who created enchanted 
pidaces at their beck, while every thing that can dazzle or charm 
the senses, started up at the word of a magician. They had only 
a kind of fiiys, powerful, yet dependent beings, who influence 
the destinies of men, and yèt had themselves, occasionidly, need 
of human protection. Their existence had been an article in 
the creed of all the northern nations, even during (he reign of pa- 
ganism. The priestesses of the sombre divinities of the woods 
were then their interpreters and their organSr Christianily had 
not as yet taught the Normans to disbeKeve in the existence of 
these beings. It merely attributed to them another origin. The 
ancient worship was considered as a magical art ; and the powers, 
attributed to the fays, were a modification of those possessed by 
the devih <* At this time,"t s&ys the author of the romance of 
Lancelot, ** all those were called /ayi, wha dealt in enchantments 
and charms ; and there were many of them, principally in Great 

* Lancelot of the Lake, p. 1. chap. 1. Paris, 1533, 3 toIb. fol. Ut. CMh. 

t "En celui tempa, étoient appelées fées toutes celles qui s'entremettoient 
d'enchaotemens et de charmes ; et moult en estoitpour lors, principalement en 
la Grande-Bretaigne ; et savoient la force et la rertu das paroles, des pierres, 
des herbes, parquoi elles estoient tenues en jeunesse, en beauté et en grandes 
richesses : celle-ci aroit appris tout ce qu'elle saroit de nygromancie de Merlin 
le prophète aux Anglois, qui sçut toute la sapience qui des diables peut descen- 
dre. Or fut le dit Merlin uns homme engendré en femme par ung diable, et 
fat appelé l'enfant sans père.*^ Part h fol. 6. 

OF TUB TR0UVER£8« lol 

Britain. Tbey knew the power aod Tirtae of words, and of 
«toDes, and of herbs, whereby they preserved themselyes in 
yoath and beaaty, and got great riches* They learned all the 
necromancy of Merlin, the English prophet, who possessed all 
the wisdom that the devil can bestow* The said Merlin was a 
man engendered between a woman and the devil, and he was 
called the fatherless child." 

The heroes of chivalry were never tired of roaming through 
France^ Brittany, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Many king* 
doms are named ; and the kings of Logres, of Léonois, of Com- 
wall, and twenty other places, are introdaced ; but all their ter* 
ritories might be comprised within a very small circle* The 
provinces of France, whither the scene is often transported, are 
generally those which, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, be- 
longed to the English, or which were well known to that people. 
We meet with no knightly adventures in that portion of France 
where the Langue d'Oc was spoken, nor in the countries beyond 
Paris. Sometimes the Romans are obscurely mentioned, as if 
that aation still existed ; but the knights never passed into Italy, 
nor do any of the chivalry of that country ever make their ap-^ 
pearance among them.* Neither Spain nor the Moors are men- 
tioned, nor is any notice taken of Germany and the inland coun- 
tries of the North. The most perfect ignorance, indeed, of every 
other part of the world, is manifested. In addition to their native 
country, the Romance writers, appear to have been only ac- 
quainted with the places mentioned in Scripture. Joseph of 
Arimatfaea passes, without any difficulty, from Judaea to Ireland ; 
and the kingdom of Babylon, the native country of the mother of 
Tristan de Léonois, is represented to have bordered upon Brittany. 
The countries within which the Norman Romance writers confined 
themselves, did not exist at the period when they wrote, and, at 
no time, resembled the picture which is there given. The gross 
chronological errors which they committed, prevent our re- 
ferring their fables to any one period of history ; and the politi«- 
cal state which they describe, in all probability, never had any 
existence. In their fictions, they yet appear to have proceeded 
upon some fixed notions ; for the geogrnpby of their romances is 

* " Durant ce temps estoient le roy de Cornouailles et celui de Leonnoîs 
subject* au roi de Gaule. Cornouailles rendoit su roy de Gaule cent jouven- 
ceaux «t cent damoyselles, et cent chevaux de prix, et le roy de Leonnois autant. 
Et tenoit le roy de Gaule de la seigneurie de Rome. Et sachez que alors ren- 
doient tribut à Rome toutes les terres du monde, N'en Gaule n'avoit encore nul 
chrétien, ains estoient tous payens. Le roy que adoncques estoit en Gaule, 
estoit Maronéus (no doûbt, Marovéus,) que moult estoit prud'homme de sa loi. 
Et après sa mort, vint saint Remy en France, que convertit CIotîs à la loi chré- 
tienne.'' (TViatan de Leonnds^ fol. 5.) This passage is copied from the edition 
of Paris, 1533 ; but the oldest editions are modern when compared with the 
manuscripts, and bear evident traces of more recent times. It is only in the 
manuscripts of the Royal Library, that wc find the unmixed and genuine pic- 
tare of the twelfth century. 


not altogether so confused and fantastic as that of Ariosto. The 
wanderings of their heroes are not absolutely impossible, aod 
might, perhaps, be traced upon the map ; uolike those of Orbodo, 
of Rinaldo, and of Astolpho. The political state and the indepen- 
dence of the little princes of Armorica, had some foundation to 
history. A confused account is preserved of a league among the 
people of Armorica, for their common defence against the barba- 
' rians, at the period of the fall of the Western Empire, which 
coincides with the reign of Arthur» and the expiring efforts of the 
Britons to repel the Saxons.* 

The scene in which these romances are always laid, appears to 
leave little doubt as to their Normun origio. It may, perh^^, be 
asked why the Normans have always chosen foreigners for their 
heroes ? and why, if they were the inventors of the romances of 
chivalry, they have not attached themselves to the real chivalric 
achievements of their own leaders ? W-e have, however, seen 
that such an attempt was made, and that the i^ot», or ^wd^ of the 
Normans, was written at the same period as the romance ofBrU" 
tuSf with the intention of exalting the faifie of the founder of the 
Duchy of Normandy, and of his ancestors and companions in 
arms. We may conclude that this romance did not displ&y much 
talent. It made little impression, and the attempt was never 
imitated. But when the romances of St Gréaal, of Merlin, of 
Tristan de Léonnois, and of Lancelot of the Lake, appeared, they 
furnished models for all subsequent writers. The characters 
were ready formed to their hands, and all that remained for them 
to do, .was to vary the adventures. It is possible, too, that the 
Normans, who were enemies of the conquered Saxons, regarded 
themselves as the avengers of the vanquished Britons, whose 
glory they thus wished to re-establish. 

In the second class of chivalric romances, we find the Ama- 
dises ; but whether those romances belong to French literature 
has been reasonably disputed. The scene is placed nearly in the 
same countries as in the romances of the Round Table, in Scotland, 
England, Brittany, and France. But the exact spots are less de- 
cidedly marked, aod there is a want of locality about them ; while 
the names are generally borrowed from prior romances ir The 
times are absolutely fabulous. The reigns of Perion, king of 
France, of Langnines, king of Scotland, and of Lisvard, king of 
Brittany, correspond with no period of history ; nor do the 

* The league of Armorica, cr the maritime countries situated between the 
mouth of the Seine and of the Loire, was eirtered into in the disastrous reiga 
of Honorius, about 420, aod continued until the subjection of those provinces bj 
Cloris, posterior to the year 497. The long contests between the Anglo-Sax- 
oas and the Britons, for the possession of England, lasted from 455 to 583. Ar- 
thur, Prinee of the Silures, who was elected kini; by the British, appears to hav« 
succeeded Vortimer and Vortigern, who long led the British armies to victory. 
His reiga most therefore be placed about the end of the fifth century ; and, if 
he ever lived at all, he must have been the contemporary of Clovis. 



adventures of the Ajnadises refer to any revolution, or great public 
event. Amâdid of Gaul, the first of these romances, and the 
model of all thé rest, is claimed, by the people to the South of 
thp Pjrreii^es, as the work of Vasco Lobeira, a Portuguese, 
who lived between 1290 and 1325. If, indeed, this be the pro^ 
ductkMt of a Portuguese, it is remarkable that he has laid the 
seéaë in Finance, precisely in the same country which the ro- 
mances of the Round Table have selected; that he has never 
led fais hero into Spain, nor introduced any adventures with the 
Mdmn, the d^ntests with whom possessed the highest interest 
for e^èry Spaniard ; and, lastly, that he should only diflfer from 
his pf édk^essors iti his superior delicacy and tenderness, and in 
a s4)ifi€rwl)ftt greater mysticism upon the topic of love. If, on 
the eixMrâry, as the French contend, Amadis of Gaul was only 
worked ttpr bv Lobeira;, from a French romance of still higher 
antiqtiityy it is Sttange that the latter should have had no con- 
neiàoà tHth the roihances of the Round Table, and that it should 
display a new set of characters, and a totally afferent fable.*" 

No dombt exists with regard to the continuations, and the nu- 
merdue inûtations of the Amadis of Gaul. All these romances, 
as the Aniadlsof Gi^ece, and the others of that name, Flotismart 
of Hiroeùàia^ Cralaor, Florestàn, and Esplandian, are inoontesta- 
bly of Spttfiish origin, the character of which they bear. Oriental 
omaoueiits supersede the ancient simplicity of style ; the imagi- 
nation IE exti^vagànt, and yet weak ; love is refined away ; valour 
is clungêd into rhodomontade ; religion assumes a more conspi- 
, cuous place, aiid the persecuting spirit of fanaticism begins to 
display itself. ï*hese works were in their highest repute, at the 
time wten Cervantes produced his inimitable Don Quixote ; and, 
wh^a we aUrrive ait that epoch of Spanish literature, we shall again 
refer to them. 

The third ctass of Chivalric romances is entirely French, 
although thehr celebrity is chiefly due to the renowned Italian 
poei, who a'^ailed himself of their fictions. Tlie court of Charle- 
ms^e sûad his Paladins are the subjects of these romances. 
The history of that monarch,* the most brilliant of all during tlie 
middle ages, ex^cited the astonishment and admiration of sub- 
sequent times. His long reign, his prodigious activity, his 
splendid victories, his wars with the Saracens, the Saxons, and 
the Lombards, his influence in Germany, Italy, and Spain, and 
f he re-establishment of the empire of the West, rendered his 

* I have merely looked at the Spanish Amadû», printed at Seville, in 1547, 
in folio, and the French Amadis, translated by Nicholas de Herberay from the 
Spanish, folio, J 540. We must look among the Manuscript», both for the 
original of this romance in French verse, and for the genuine work of V:wco 
Lobeira, ffhicli wc scarcely recognise in the Spanish editions of the sixteenth 

Vol. J. 20 


name popular throughout Europe, long after the achievemeuts^ 
by which he had signalized himself were forgotten. He was a 
brilliant star in that dark firmament ; th^ true hero of diiTalry, 
to whom a thousand fantastic adventures might be as<aribed. . 

It is diiiicult to fix the precise period of these faites. The 
most ancientmonument of the marvellous history of Charlemagne, 
is the pseudonymous Chronicle of Turpin, or Tilpin, Archbishop 
of Rh^ims. It is universally admitted, that^ the name of this 
prelate, who is supposed to be contemporary with Chaijemdgne, 
is fictitious ; and some writers have dated this imposture as &r 
back as the tenth century.* As the Chronicle is written in 
Latin, the greater or less purity of the language does not liable 
us to distinguish the period of its composition. The most an- 
cient manuscripts, preserved in the Royal and Vatican libraries, 
appear to be of the eleventh or twelfth centuries. The transla- 
tions, imitations, and continuations, commenced only in the reign 
of Philip Augustus, whom his courtiers wished to flatter, by 
comparing him to Charlemagne. 

But, it is by internal evidence, that we must endeavour to as- 
certain the age of this fabulous chronicle, which bears, no doubt, 
the impress of the times in which it was written, The most 
striking characteristic of this romance, and indeed of all the others 
to whidi it has given birth, is the enthusiastic feeling which it 
displays with regard to the holy wars, of which we observe no 
traces in the romances of the Round Table. But, what is.scarcely 
less remarkaible, is the frequent mention of the wars and the 
Moors of Spain, and of every thing Spanish, which is not at all 
in aocordAce with the spirit of the first crusade, and which has 
given rise to conjectures that this work was the production of a 
monk of Barcelona. The Chronicle of Archbidpp Turpin con- 
tains only the history of Charlemagne's last^xpedition into 
Spain, whither he was 'hiiraculously invited by St. James, bishop 
of Gaiicia ; his victories over the Moorish king, Argoland ; the 
sinde combats of Orlando and Ferragus ; the death of Orlando 
at Koncevalles, and the revenge of Charlemagne. Almost all 
the heroes, who afterward made so splendid a figure in Ariosto, 
are named and described in this romance ; from which subsequent 
writers have borrowed the outline of their fables. 

If it be true that manuscripts of the Chronicle of Turpin are in 

* I have some doubts wilh regard to this. In the introduction, Turpin «ays, 
that his frieod Lcoprand, tu whom his book is addressed, was unable to find all 
the details he wanted, respecting Cih&rlemagne, in the Chronicle of St. Denis. 
The book is, therefore, posterior to that work, w^ch is thought to have been 
commenced in the reign of Louis VII. In the 18th chapter it is said, that 
Charlemagne gave Pùrlugal to the Danes and Flemish ; terram PortugaUcrupi 
Danis ei PUmdris» But that name is only of equal date with the monarchy, in 
the twelfth century. The Chronicle of Turpin is divided into thirty-two chap- 
ters, «lid only occupies twenty-five folio pages, in the edition of Echardt. Ger- 
TOonicarum rerum celebriores vetuatioregque Chronograpki, 1 vol. fol. Francf. 1 566 


existence» written ia the eleventh century, I should confidently 
refer its campoation to the time when Alfonso VL king of Castile 
and Leon, ccmquered Toledo and New Castile, in 1085. He was 
aooompanied on this expedition by numbers of French knights, 
who passed the Pyrenees for the sake of combating the infidels, 
under the banners of so great a king, and of beholding the Cld, 
the hero of the age. The war against the JMoors of Spain ori- 
ginated in a very different sort of religious zeal, from that whkh, 
twelve years later, lighted up the lame of the first crusade. 
The object of the former was, to succour Christian brethren and 
neighbours, who adored the same God and avenged common 
injuries, of which the author seems to be unwilling that the re- 
membrance should perish. But the design of the crusade was 
to deliver the Holy Sepulchre, to recover the inheritance oi the 
Messiah, and to succour God rather than man ; as a Troubadour, 
whom we have already cited, expresses himself. The zeal for 
the Holy Sepulchre, and this enthusiastic devotion directed to 
the East, are not to be found in the Chronicle of Archbishop 
Turpin, which is, nevertheless, full of ardent fanaticism, and 
loaded with miracles. 

If Ijiis Chrcmicle, to which Ariosto is so fond'of alluding, and 
which lias received from him its poetical celebrity, be anterior to 
the first romances of the Bound Table, yet the romances of the 
court of Charlemagne, which are imitations of the former, are 
decidedly of a later date. The Chronide of Turpin, however 
fabulous it may be, can scarcely be considered as a romance. 
We are presented, alternately, with incredible martial achieve- 
ments, the fniits of monkish credulity; and with miracles, the 
result of monkish supei^tition. We are, also, entertained with 
enchantments. The sword of Orlando, Durandal, or Durindana, 
cannot strike without wounding ; the body of Ferragus is ren- 
dered invulnerable by enchantments ; and the terrible horn of 
Orlando, with which he blew a blast at Roncevalles, for succour^ 
is heard as far as Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, where Charlemagne 
lies with his army ; but the traitor Ganelon prevents the monarch 
from repairing to the assistance of his nephew. Orlando, aban- 
doning all hope,^ attempts to break his sword, to prevent its falling 
into the hands of the enemy, and being stained with Christian 
blood. He strikes it against trees and rocks, but nothing can 
resist the enchanted blade, when wielded by so powerfm ^ 
arm. The trees are cut down and the rocks fly into splinters, 
but Durandal still remains unbroken. At last, Orlando drives 
it up to the hilt in a hard rock, and bending it violently, it 
breeds in his hand. He again sounds his horn, not in hope of 
succour, but to announce to the Christians that their hour is 
come ; and he blows so violent a blast that his veins burst, and 
'he expires, weltering in his blood. This is extremely poetical, 
and indicates a brilliant imagination ; bnito make it intoachivalric 
romance, it would be necessary to introduce women and love; 
subjects which are entirely excluded. ^ 


The author of the ChroDide of Turpin had no kitenttOB of liij- 
mg claim to the fame of a creatire genias, or of anofljiBglhe. idle^ 
by tales obvioasly fictitious. He presented to the Freaoh all the 
wonderful facts, which he related, as purely historicid ; aqd the 
reader of such fabulous legends was accustomed to give cM^Jt to 
still more maryellous narratives. Many of these fables irer», 
therefore, again brought forward in the ancient Chronicle of Saint 
Denis/the compilation of which was commenced by the command 
of the Abbé Soger, minister to Lewis the young (^1137 — 1 180,) al- 
though the work was written without any idea bt imposiog fictions 
upoh the world, and as an authentic history of the times. Thus 
we find that it contains, in an abridged form, the same aecount as 
in Turpin, of Orlando, and his duel with Ferragus ; oÇ the twelve 
peers of France ; the battle of Roncevalles, and the wars of Char- 
lemagne against the Saracens. The portrait of the monarch h 
borrowed almost word for word, from the Chronicle of Turpio. — 
^' He was a man of strong heart and great stature, but not too great ; 
seven feet, of the measure of his own foot, was he in height; his 
head was round ; his eyes large, and so clear, that» when he was 
angry, they sparkled like carbuncles. He had a large straight 
nose, rising a little in the middle; his hair was brown, and his 
face fresh-coloured) pleasant, and cheerfiil. He was so strong 
that he could easily straighten three horseshoes at once, and raise 
an armed knight on the palm of his hand from the earth. Jojietise» 
his sword, could cut an armed knight in two," ke,* 

But all these marvellous narratives, which then passed for his- 
tory,! furnished materials for the romances 9t the conclusion of 

* *' Horns fut de con fort, et de grant e«tatur«, et ne miê de trop gtant ; 
sept piez avoit de long à la mesure de ses pies ; le cbiçf avilit r^ont, l^a jnax 
grana et gros, et si clers que quant il ètoit courrouciés, ils reypleâdiasoiant 
ainsi comme escarboucles ; le nez avoit grant et droit, et un petit hauU au mi* 
lieu, brune cberelure, la face vermeille, lie et haligre ; de si gnmt forée estoit, 
que il estendoit trois fers de cberaux tous ensemble légieremeat, et leviûît un 
chevalier armé sur sa paume de tenre jusqUes amoat. Du |ojei|se, 8?(^pèa, 
coupoit un chevalier tout armé,** &c. 

t When tbe ancient romance writers toucb upon tbe subject of tbe court of 
Cbarlemagne, they assume a more elevated tone. They are not then repeat- 
ing fbbles, but celebrating their national history, and tbe glory, of ^eife*. anoea- 
tors ; and they claim the right of being heard with respect. The rf maijço af 
Gerard de Vienne, one of the Paladins of Charlemagne, thus cçmfiences : 
(Manuscript in the Royal Library^ 749S. 3.) 


Une chançon plait nos, que je vos die 

De haut estoire, et de grand baronie ; 

Meilloi' ne peut être dite ne oie. 

Cette n'est pas d'orgueil et de foUie, 

De trahison ou de loseagarie^ 

Mais du Bar'nage que Jésus bénie, 

Del plus très fier qui oncques fut en vie. 

A Saint Denys à la mattre abbayie 

Dedans un livre de grant ancienner?^ . 

Trovons écrît, etc. » 

I ' 

the criMfd^, wjik4k hw} iptcoduocd a. kiiovtlcdga of tb« EmI, at the 
694 -oC.^^ ^birte^tb^ <3e»iut J, and duriog the reign of Philip the 
Bold. (|27Q-1^84) Adeoes, the kiDg^t*«nna of this inonarcb, 
wr$l»ih^ romwçeeofBerthB*«n-grand*pied, the mother of Char* 
lemftgii6« Qgi?r the T>mt* and Cleomadis» in vene ; woà Haon de 
ViMenenveg the rpiviance of Reaaadde Mootauban. The font 
90f^» of Ay4M)n, Huon de Bordeaux, Dooliti de Mayence, Mor- 
gs^nte the Giant, Mao^s the Cbriatian Enchanter, and many ether 
heroes of tbif iUustriogs court, have foend, either at that or a anb- 
sequ^pt period, cbnoqiclerav who bare celebrated the charaoten 
and the events of that glorious age, which has been oonaecrated 
bj the divine poem of Ariosto. 

Th^ iny^Htioo oftbii briUiaot »ystem of romantic chivalry wa». 
however, perfected» at early a9 the conclusion of the thirteenth 
CBDtqry Î and all hs oharacteriatica are to be found in the romances 
of Adenoji. The ki^ights no longer wandered, like the cava- 
liers of the Round Table, through the daric foreato of a temi^Kar- 
baroQS cpuntry, cov^^red with mbta ^ntjl white with fraats. The 
whok universe np9 eipposqd to their eyes. The Hely Land, in- 
deedi w^s the grmid object of their pilgrimages ; but» . by that 
njieans they established an intercourse with the extensive^nd 
wealthy kingdoms of the East. Their geography, like alj^ their 
information, was much confused. Their voyages from Spain to 
Carthage, wH from. Dénmarli to Tunis, were aceompliahed with 
a facili^ and rapidity, even more èurprisins than the enchant- 
laeota'^ef 'Maegis or Morgana. These fantastic voyages furnished 
the Romance writers with opportunities of adorning their narra* 
live with the moat splendid descriptions. AU the luxury and per-» 
iumei ^ th^ most higkly«lavoiiped conntrieB were at their com- 
mand. The pomp and magnificence of Damasctis, of Bagdad, and 
of ConstÀntinople, swelled the triqaiph of their heroes. But the 
ino9t precioijis of all their acquisitions, waarthe imagination ff the 
people of th^ Soutà and £ast ; ihat brilliant and ^ayfnl faculty^ 
so well cffleukted to give animation to the sombre mythology of 
the North; The /oyt were no longer hideous wretches, the ob- 
ject of popiAlar l^tred apd dr^£|d» buli the rivals or alliée of those 
enchanteirs^ who^ in tbefiast^i^sposed of the seal of Solomon, and 
of the Oeftil who watted upon it. To the art of prolonging life» 
they added that of multiplying pleasures. They were, in a man- 
ner, the priestesses of nature, and all her pomps. At their voice, 
magniâGeAt palaces started up in the deserts ; enchanted gardens 
and peHumed groves of oranges and myrtles burst forth aniid the 
fl[^nds, or on the rocks of the ocean. Gold, and diamonds, and 
pes^rls, sparkled upon their garmisots, or along the walls' of their 
palacea; and their love, air from being considered sacrilegious, 
was the sweetest recompense of n warrior's toils., Qgier (he 
Dane, the Td[1iant Pafadin of Charletpagne, was tbu^ welcomed 
by the fày Morgana to^ ber c^i^tle of Avalon. morgana^ taking :a 
îTown of jKold ornamented, with jewels, representini^' th# leare* 


of the Saurel, the myrtle, and- the rose, telle tbe kni^ thM she 
bad, with fÎTe of her «isters, endowed bim from hitfHiirtb, m that 
she had then chosen him for her favoorite. — *^ Here reign," «ays 
she, *' and raoeive this crown, a symbol of the authority whi^h 
yoa ^hall eirer exercise- here." Ogier permits her to place upon 
his head the fatal crown, to which belongs the gift of immortal 
youth ; hot at the same time, every sentiment was effaced from 
his mind, except ioye for Morgana. The hero forgets the court 
of Charlemagne, and the glory he bad gained in France; the 
crowns of Denmark, of England, of Acre, of Babylon, andof Je> 
rosalem, which he had saccessively worn ; the battles he had 
fought, and the many giants he had conquered. He passes two 
hundred years with Morgana, intoxicated with love, wtthont no« 
ting the lapse of time ; but, upon his crown accidentally falling 
into a fountain, his memory is restored. He believes that Char- 
lemagne is still alive, and he eagerly asks for intelligence of the 
brave Pahtdins, his companions in arms.* When we pernse this 
pleasing action, we easily perceive that it was written after the 
crusade had mmgled the nations of the East ,and the .West, and en-' 
riched the French with all the treasures of Arabian imagination.' 

*- Morgana, who meets Ogier on a loadstone roek, wbick attracts his ressel, 
in the first place restores his youth to bim. '* Then she approached Ogier and 
gave him tf ring, which was of such virtue, that, though he had aumbereda 
hundred years, he was immediately I'estored to the age of thirty." She thus 
prepared him for an introduction into an assembly of the *' finest nobles ' that 
were ever seen.** In fact, King Arthur and all the peers of ancient chivalry, 
for three hundred years past, were assembled ia tbe dalioioiis spot idle which 
the knight of Charlemagne was admitted. 

'* Or quand Morgue approcha du château, ses fées vindrent au-devant d^Ogier» . 
chantant le plus mélodieusement qu'on sauroit jamais ouïr; puis entra dedans 
la aalle poor soi deduyre totaleaieut. Adone vit plusieurs dames fées aornées, 
et toutes couronnées de eoaronaee trè»>somptueu8emeat faîtes, moult riches ; 
et long du jour chantoient, dansoieot, et meneient joyeuse vie» sans pfsaecr à 
quelque chose, fors prendre leurs mondains plaisirs. Et ainsi qyue Ogier, il 
deviseit avec les dameë, tantôt arriva le roi Arthus, auquel Morgue la fée dit : 
Ap|nrôcbes*vons, raonsiegneur mon firère, et venez sahier la leur de toute 
chevalerie, l'honneur de toute la noblesse de France, celui «à bonté, lOyanté, 
et toute vertu est enclose. C'est Ogier de Daoemarcfc, mon loyal .ami et. mon 
seul plaisir, auquel régit toute Pespérance de ma liesse. Adone le roi vint em- 
brasser Ogier très-amiablement. Ogier, très- noble chevalier, vous soyez le 
trèspbien venu, et regratie très-grandement notre Seigneur de ce qu'il m'a en- 
voyé un si très-notable chevalier. Si le fit, servir incontineat au aiéga d« 
Machar, par grant honneur, dont il remercia le roi Arthus très-grandement ; 
puis Mcrgtie la féé Iil^i mit une couronne dessus son chef, moult riche et p|ré- 
tieuse, si que nul vivant ne la sauroit priser nullement. Et avec ce qu'elle 
étoit riche, elle avoit en elle une vertu merveilleuse ; car tout homme qui la 
portoit sur son chef, il ouUioit tout deuil, mélancolie et tristesse,- ne jamais «i« 
lui souvenait de pays ni de parens qu'il eut; car tant qu'elle Ait sur son chei^ 
n'eut peosement quelconque ne do la dame Clarice, ne de Guyion son frèse» ne 
de son neveu èrantier, ne dé créature qui fût en vie, car tout fut mis lors en 
oubli." FùL G^ LiL Goth. Ogier-le-Danois. Printed by Afoiô Lotrian and 
Qenys ^aaoti without name of place or year, in l3mo. 



On tiie various Poetry of the TrouTèret ; their AUe^ics ; Fabliaux ; ,Ljncai 

Poems ; Mysteries and Moralities. , 

ÀLTHot/GH the literatare of France is entirely distinct from the 
Romantic literature, having adopted a different set of rules, and a 
different spirit and character, yet the literatare of the Langae 
d'Oil and of the Trouvères, which was that of ancient France, 
had the same origin as that of the South. It owed its birth, in 
the same manner, to the mixture of the Northern nations with the 
Romans. Chivatry and the feudal system, the manners and opi- 
nions of the middle ages, gave it its peculiar character ; and not 
only did it belong tb the same class as the literature of Provence, 
of Italy, and of Spain, but it even exercised a very perceptible in- 
fluence over those countries. It is among the Trouvères that we 
mu^tlook for the origin of the chivalric poems, the tales, the alle- 
gories, and the dramatic compositions, of southern Europe. Thus^ 
although none of their works have obtained a high reputation, or 
deserve to be ranked among the masterpieces of the human intel- 
lect, they are still worthy of our attention, as monuments of the 
progress of the mind, and as gleams of that' rising taste which 
has since heen fully developed. 

Nothing is more difficult than to define the constituent qualities 
of poetry. As the peculiar object of this divine art is to captivate 
the whole soul, to allure it from its seat, and to transport it to a 
higher sphere, where it may enjoy delights which seem reserved 
for more perfect beings, every one is only sensible, in poetry, to 
that which is in unison with his own character, and values it in 
proportion to its power of exciting the feelings which most* 
strongly affect him, and which most largely contribute to his own 
enjoyments. Hence some regard imagination as the essence of 
poetry. Others have supposed it to consist in feeling, in reflec- 
tion, in enthusiasm, or in liveliness. It appears, then, that if we 
are desirous of being correctly understood, we must apply the 
name of poetry to every composition in which men, gifted with 
genius, express their various emotions ; that we must give that 
name to every production which unites harmony and rich expres- 
sion ; and that we must admit that all the powers of the mind 
may, in their turn, be clothed in that brilliant form, that melo- 
dious and figurative language, which captivates all the senses at 
once, striking upon the ear with a regular cadence, and present- 
ing to the mind's eye all the picturiBs of its marvellous creation. 

When we thus adopt the name of poetry, as descriptive of the 
form of expression only , we shall be better able to comprehend how 
the poetry of one nation differs, in its essential characteristics, from 
that of another; and how strictly it is in accordance with those qua- 

16U , (»N THE itï£RA.TURE 

lities, which are most powerfully deTeloped among the nation by 
whom it is cultivated. The character of a people is always commu- 
nicated'to their poetry. Among.tba Prof eaçals, it is full of love and 
gallantry; among the Italians, it abounds with playful imagination. 
The poetry of the English is remarkable for its sensibility ; that 
of the Germans, for its enthusiasm. In the Spanish poetry, we 
remark a wildness of passion, which has suggested gigantic ideas 
and images ; while» in the Portagaese, there is a spirit of soft 
melancholy and pastoral reflection. All these nations considered 
those subjects alone to be adapted to poetry, which were accord- 
ant wiih their own dispositions ; and they all agreed in consider- 
ing the character of the French nation as anti-poetical. The 
latter, again, even from the earliest period, have testified their 
aversion to the more contemplative qualities of the mind, and 
have given the preference to wit and argument, cultivating the 
imagination only inasmuch as it assists the faculty of invention. 
The witty and argumentative taste of this nation has gradually in- 
creased. The French have attached themselves almost excln- 
sively, in their poetry, to the narrative style, to wit, and to argu- 
ment ; and they have, therefore, become such complete strangers 
to romantic poetry, that they have detached themselves from all 
the other modern nations, and have placed themselves under the 
protection of the ancients. Not because the ancients, like them, 
confined themselves to the elegant arrangement of the action, to 
conventional proprieties, and to argumentative conclusions, but 
because they developed all the human faculties at one and the 
same time ; and because the French discovered in the classical 
authors, which are the admiration of all Europe, those qualities 
upon which they themselves set the highest value. Hence, mo- 
dern writers have been divided into two parties so diametricallj 
opposite to each other, that they are each incapable of compre- 
hending the principles upon which the other proceeds. 
, But, before the French had raised the standard of Aristotle, 
which occurred about a century and a half ago, poetry was not an 
art which was practised by rule, but rather an inspiration. The 
works of the Trouvères already differed from those of the Trou- 
badours, without any opposition having arisen between them. 
The poets of the South, on the contrary, perceiving nothing re- 
volting to their taste in the difierence of style, profited by the cir- 
cumstance, and enriched their poems with the inventions of the 
people who were situated to the north of the Loire. 

The French certainly possessed, above every other nation of 
modern times, an inventive spirit. Complaints, and sighs, and 
passionate eipressions, were more fatiguing to them than to any 
other people. They required something niore real, and more 
substantial, to captivate their attention. We have seen that amoDg 
them the rich and brilliant inventions of the romances of chivalry 
originqled. We shall soon see that they were the inventors of the 
Fabliaux^ or tales of amusement, and that it was they, also, who 


inspired more life into their narrations, by placin|[; the circum- 
staoces before the eyes of the spectators in tbeir mysteries ; a 
dramatic invention, which owes its rise to them. On the other 
hand, we find them, at the same pf*riod, producing some tedious 
works of a difforent kind ; those allegorical poems, which were 
sabi^equetitly imitated by all the romantic nations, but which seem 
to be more immediately the offspring of French taste, and which, 
even to the present day, find $)ome imitators among our poets. 
This allegorical form of composition gratified, at once, the na- 
ûoQiû taste for narrative pieces, and the still more national attach- 
ment to compositions which unite wit and argumefi to a moral 
aim. The French are the only people who, in poetrv, look to 
the object of the composition ; and they, perhaps, understand bet- 
ter than any other nation how to accomplish their purpose. They, 
therefore, always write with a definite aim in view ; whilst other 
nations conceive it to bie the essence of poetry not to seek any 
certain object, but to abandon themselves to unpremeditated and 
spontaneous transports, courting poetry from inspiration alone. 

The most celebrated, and perhaps the most ancient, of these 
allegorical poems, is the Romance of the Rose ; a name known to 
every one, although few persons are acquainted with the nature 
and object of the work itself. It is necessary to premise, that 
, the Romance of the Rose, is not a romance in the sense which we 
attach, at the present day, to that word. At the period at which 
it was composed, the French was still called the Romance Ian» 
guage, and all the more voluminous productions in that tongue 
were consequently called Romans^ or Romances. The Romance 
of thé Rose contains twenty thousand verses ; and it is the work 
of two different authors. Four thousand one hundred and fifty 
verses were written by Guillaume de Lorris ; while his conti- 
nuator^ Jean de Meun, produced the remainder of the poem, fifty 
years later* 

GuUlaaine de Lorris proposed to treat on the same subject, 
which O^id had adopted in bis Art of Love. But the dissimilarity 
between the two works very plainly marks the distinction which 
existed between the spirit of the two ages. Quillaume de Lorris 
makes no appeal to lovers ; he speakb not either from his own 
feelings, or his own experience : he relates a dream ; and this 
eternsi vision of his, which would certainly have occupied not a 
few nights, in no point resembles a real dream. A crowd of «ir 
legorical personages appear before him, and all the incidents of a 
tedious passion are converted into reaf beings, and endowed with 
names. There is first Dame Oiseuse^ or Lady Idleness, who io-- 
sipires the lover with the desire of finding the Rose, or the reward 
of Love. Then there are Male-bouehe and Dangier^ who mislead 
him ; and Félonie^ Basseise^ Hwine^ and Avarice^ who impede bis 
parsuit. All human virtues and vices are thus personified and 
^ iatrodoced upon the scene. One allegory is linked to s^nother, 
and thé imagination wanders among these fictitious beings, upon 
. Voi,. I. 21 






whom it is impossible to bestow any corporeal attributes. This 
fatiguing inrention is necessarily destructive of all interest. We 
are far more willing to bestow our attention upon a poem which 
relates to human feelings and actions, however indigniôcant they 
may be, than upon one which is full of abstract sentiments and ' 
ideas, represented under the names of men and women. At the 
period, however, when the Romance of the Rose first appeared, 
the less it interested the reader as a narrative, the more it was ad- 
mired as a work of intellect, as a fine moral conception, and as 
philosophy clothed in the garb of poetry. Brilliant passages 
struck the eye at every line ; the object of the author was neVer 
out t)f sight ; and since poetrji was regarded by the French as the 
vehicle of agreeable instruction, they must necessarily have been 
of opinion, that the Romance of the Rose was admirably calculated 
for attaining this end, as it contained a rich mine of pleasing in- 
formation. Upon this question of instruction and moral discipline, 
we should decide very differently at the present day. It it no 
longer thought, that, in recommending virtue, it is necessary to 
paint vice with grossness, as is frequently done by Guillaume de 
Lor ris. We should no longer tolerate the cynical language, and 
the insulting manner, in which he, and especially his successor, 
Jean de Meun, speak of the female sex ; and we .should be shocked 
at their indecency, so opposed to every idea of love and chivalric 
gallantry which we now entertain. Our ancestors were, doubt- 
less, much less delicate than we.- No book was ever more popu- 
lar than the Romance of the Rose. Not only was it admired as a 
masterpiece of wit, invention, and practical philosophy, but the 
reader attempted to discover in it matters which had never en- 
tered into the contemplation of the author. One allegory was not 
sufficient, and a second was sought for. It was pretended that 
Lorris had veiled, in this. poetical form, the highest mysteries of 
theology. Learned commentaries were written upon it, which 
are appended to the Paris edition, (folio, 163],)and in which a key 
is given to this divine allegory, which is said to portray die grace 
of God and the joys of Paradise, in those licentious passages which 
describe terrestrial love. It must be confessed, that this adniira- 
tion of a work which contained many immoral passages, excited, 
at length, the animadversions of some of the fathers of the Church. 
Jean Gerson, Chancellor of the University of Paris, and one of 
the most respected of the Fathers of the Council of Constance» 
published a Latin treatise against the Refinance of the Rose. Frona 
this period, many preachers fulminated their censures against the 
corrupting volume; whilst others did not scruple to cite passages 
from it in the pulpit, and to mingle the verses of Guillaume de 
Lorris with texts of holy writ. 

Whilst the national character of* the French was thus manifest- 
ed in the allegorical form which Guillaume de Lorris gave to this 
didactic poem, it was likewise recognised in the style which he 
sfelected. To ntirrate with neatne^<i, clearness, and a degree of 


simpJicity, to which, at the same time» elegance, precision of ei- 
pression, and a miitare of abstract sentiment are united, appeared 
to the French, at that time, to be the essence of the poetical art. 
Even yet, they regard as poetical, those compositions in which 
other nations can distinguish nothing but rhymed prose. The 
Romance of the Rose, and its numberless imitations, are of this 
class. The language is noTer figurative ; it presents nothing to 
the eye ; it neither proceeds from, nor affects, the heart ; and if 
the measure of the yerse were taken away, it would be impossible 
to recognise it as poetry. In the note, some of the best passages 
•f the poem are extracted.* 

* The origin of royalty is reprosented io the followinc linea : 

JLea homi la terre se partirent. 

Et au pmrtir, bornes y mirent ; ^ 

Mais quand les bornes y mettoient, 

Maintes fois s'entrecombattoient. 

Et se tollurent ce qu'ils purent ; 

Les plus forts les plus grands parts eurent. . . . 

Lors, cofâTiot que Ton ordonnât 

Aucun qui les bornes gard&t, 

Et qui les malfaiteurs tous prit, 

Et si bon droit aut plaintifs fit 

Que nul ne Posât contredire ; 

Lors s'assemblèrent pour l'élire. . . . 

Un grand vilain entr'euz élurent, 

Le plus ossu de quant qu'ils furent, 

Le plus eorsu, et le greigneur^iplus grand) 

Et le firent prince et seigneur. • . . 

Cil jura que droit leur tiéndroit, 

Se chacun en droit soit lui lirve 

Des biens dont il se puisse rîTre • . . . 

De là Tint le commencement 

Aux rois et princes terriens 

Selon les liTres anciens. 

The following is a celebrated representation of Time» which lias been often 

Le Temps <|ui s'en va nuit et jour 
Sans repos prendre et sans séjour ; 
Et qui de nous se part et emble 
Si secrètement qu'il nous semble 
Que maintenant soit en un point, 
Bt il ne s'y arrête point ; 
Ains ne fine d'outre passer {eesse^) 
Sitôt que ne sauriez penser 
Quel temps il est présentement : 
Car avant que le pensement 
Fut fini, si bien y pensez 
Trois temps seroieot déjà passés. 

The 99xt Unes contain the portrait of Lotc; which, in a poem written in his 
honoar, ought certainly to be the most admirable passage in the book: 


GuillanmedeLorris commenced the Romance of the Rose, in the 
earlier port of the thirteenth centnry, and died in 1260. His «ac- 
cessor, Jean de Meun, surnamed Clopmel, was not born nntil 1280. 
The continuation of the Romance of the Rose is posterior to the 
great poem of Dahte, which is, like it, a vision. Gnillaame de 
Lorris is, however, the true inventor of that style of writing, and 
the innumerable poetical visions, which occupy so large a space in 
modern literature, are all imitations of the Romance of the Rose. 

The first imitations of this poem appeared in French, and, like 
their model, they bear the title of romances. One of these ro- 
mances, which was very famous in its day, and copies of which 

Le dieu d'amour, cil qui départ 
Amourettes à sa devise, 
C'est cil qui les amans attise. 
Cil qui abbat l'orgueil des brave*, 
Cil fait les graods seigneurs esclaves, 
£t fait servir rojne et princesse, 
^ Et repentir none et abbetse. 

A portrait of Dame Beauty : 

Celle dame avoit nom Beauté, 
Qui point n'étoit noire ne brune, 
Mais aussi clère que la lune 
Est envers les autres estoiles 
Qui semblent petites chandelles. 
Tendre chair eut comme rosée ; 
Simple fut comme une épousée. 
Et blanche comme fleur de lys. 
Le vt9 {visage) eut bel, donz et dys (poUi) 
Et estoit grêle et alignée. 
Fardée n'estoit ne pignée, 
Car elle n'avait pas mestier 
De soi farder et nettoyer; 
Cheveux avoit blonds et si longs 
Qu'ils lui battoient jusqu'aux talons; 
Beaux avoit le nez et la bouche. - 
Moult grand douleur au cuer me touche 
Quand de sa beauté me remembre 
Pour la façon de chacun membre. . . • 
Jeune fut et de grand faconde, 
Saige plaisante, gaie et cotiUe (agréMe^) 
' Gresle, gente, frisque et aecofnte {«droite,) 

Even the title of the work was in rhyme : 

Cv est le rommant de la Rose 
Ou tout art d'amour est enclose. 
Histoires et autorités. 
Et maints beaux propos usités. 
Qui a été nouvellement 
Corrigé suffisantement. 
Et coté bien à Pavantaige 
Com on voit en ohamioe paige. 



are freqaeDtly met with in librariet, is that of the Trot« P«lf- 
rtno^eff, composed by Guillaume de Guilleville, a CisterciaD monk, 
bet.fveeo 1330 and 1368. This is also a dream of a most appalling 
length ; for each pilgrimage occupies a poem of ten or twelve 
thoQsand rersea, forming a quarto vtilume. The first is the pil* 
grimage of man, or human life ; the second, the pilgrimage of 
the soul after it has left the body, or the life to come ; the third , 
the pilgrimage of Jesus Christ, or the life of oar Lord. GuilfeTÎIle 
tells 08 in his poem, that the Romam;e of the Rose was hfs model; 
but it is easy to perceive that he has likewise imitated Dante, 
whose immortal poem had appeared in the interval* Thus, in 
his orthodox visions, Guilleville takes Ovié for his guide, as Dante 
was conducted by Virgil through the regions ^f the dead. But 
.Virgil was in reality the master of the Florentine, and bad in*' 
spired him with the perception and the enthnstasm of poetry ; 
whilst Guilleville owes nothing to Ovid, and has no connexion 
with the guide whom he pretends to follow. 

About the same time, appeared the Bible Gfnyof,* the work of 
Hugoes de Bercy, surnamed Guyot, a bitter satire against all 
classes of society. It contains the Hook of Maj»devie^ or the 
amendnsent of the lif^ ; the Book of CUrgit^ or of the scieoees ; 
and many others of the same kind, in which tiresome allegories 
partially conceal morals no less fatiguing. We should feel asto- 
nished at the patience of our forefathers, who could thns devonr 
these long and stupid works, did we not remember that the people 
of that day were almost entirely without books, and that there 
was nothing around them which could extend or awaken their 
ideas. A single work, a single volume, was the treasure of a 
whole mansion. In unfavourable weather, it was read to a circle 
around the fire ; and when it was finished, the pemsai was again 
commenced. The wit of the company was exercised in discover- 

* The following is a fragment of this poem. The title of BiWe it aierèiy sy- 
nonymous with Book^ * 

Contré Us Femmes. 


NulH ne pot oncqu' accomplir 

Voloir de femme ; c'est folie , 

De cherchier lor être et lor vie, 

iènand ti sages n'y voient goitte. . . . 

FeauBe ne ftit oneqoes vaiocae 

Ne a|>ertement bien cognue : 

Quand K œil pleure 11 cuer rit, 

Feu pense à ce qu'elle nous dit, 

Ifooit muesouTCBtson courage, 

Et tost a déçu le phitf sage 

Quand me membre {scmSeaJt) de Salomon, 

De Costantiu et de Samson 

Que femmes inganièrent si, 

Moult me fiiif («sitvieat) d'être esbabf. 


iog its applications, add in speculating upon its contents. No com- 
parison with other works enabled them to form a judgment upon 
its merits. It was reverenced like holy writ, and they accounted 
themselves happy in being able to comprehend it ; as though it 
were a great condescension in the author, to accommodate himself, 
sometimes, to their capacities. 

Our ancestors likewise possessed another species of poetry, 
Which though it might not display greater inventive talents,j;ior a 
more considerable portion of that inspiration and fire, upon which 
other nations have bestowed the epithet of poetical, was, at least, '^ 
exceedingly amusing. Such are the fabliqux^ the brilliant répu- 
tation of which has becin revived in the present age. They have 
been represented as treasures of invention, originality, simplicity, 
and gayety, of which other nations can furnish no instancesi but 
by borrowing from the French. A vast number of these ancient 
tales, written in verse^ in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, are 
preserved in the Royal Library at Paris. M. de Caylos has given 
an account of them in his entertaining papers, published in the 
Transactions of the Academy of Inscriptions. M. Grand d'Aussy 
has, likewise, jàade a selection, which he has presented to the 
public in a more modern dress ; and, lastly, M. Af. Barbazan and 
Méon have published four large volumes of these Tales, in the 
original, language, and often with their original grossness* This 
impprtant portion of the literature of the middle ages merits our 
attention, as affording an insight into the manners and spirit of the 
timely and as pointing out the origin of many of those inventions, 
to which men of other ages and other nations have subsequently 
laid claim. But researches 6f this kind are not suited to every 
one. The dictates of delicacy, decency, and modesty were little 
respected in the good old times ; and the Trouvères, to eicite the 
gayety of the knights and ladies who received them at their courts, 
would oden amuse them with very licentious wit. The grossneas 
of their language was esteemed pleasantry, and the most dissolute 
manners were the most inviting subjects of their verse. 

The French, who always accounted elegance and easiness .of 
style to be the essence of poetry, availed themselves, with eager- 
ness, of every tale of gallantry, and every adventure and anec- 
dote, which could awaken curiosity or excite mirth. These they 
put into verse, and then called themselves poets, f^hile every 
other nation reserved such subjects for prose. A collection of 
Indian tales, entitled Dolopathos^ or the King and the Seven Wise 
Men, having been translated into Latin, about the tenth or ele- 
venth century, was the first storehouse of the Trouvères. ' The 
Arabian tales, which were transmitted by the Moors to the Cas- 
tilians, and by the latter to the French, were in their turn versi- 
fied. Even the romantic adventures of the Provençal Knights 
and Troubadours, furnished the Trouvères with subjects for their 
taléfl. But, above all, the anecdotes, which they collected in the 
towns and castles of France; the adventures of lovers ; the tricks 

■ ) 



which were played »pon the jealoasy and credulify of basbanda ; 
the gallantries of priegts, and the disorders of conveots, supplied 
the reciters of tales with inexhaustible matertala for their ludicrous 
Darrati?es. These were treasures common to them all. We 
seldom know the same of the Trouvère by whom these anec- 
dotes have been Tersitled. Others related them anew, adapting 
them to their own taste, and adding to, or retrenching from them, 
according to the impression which they wished to make upon their . 
aaditors. Thus it is, that we find, in the fabliaux, every Tariation 
of the language. At the period we are discussing, there were 
neither theatrical entertainments, nor games at cards, to fill up the 
leisure hours of society. It was found necessary to devise some 
means of passing the long evenings in courts and castles, and even 
in private houses ; and the Trouvères, or relatera of tales, were 
therefore welcomed, with an eagerness proportioned to the store 
of anecdotes which they bronght with them to enliven conversa- 
tion. Whatever w as the subject of their verse, they were equally 
acceptable. Legends, miracles, and licentious anecdotes were re- 
lated by the same men to the same companies ; aod, in the coUec* 
tiens of the aucient fabliaux, we find stories of the most opposite 
kind immediately succeeding each other. The most nameroofl 
are those tales, properly »o called, which were the models of those 
of Boccaccio, of the Queen of Nararre, and of La Footaiiie. 
Some of these old fabliaux have had great fame. They have been 
successively reproduced by all who have any pretensions to the 
narrative art, and they have passed from age to age, and from 
tongue to tongue, down to our own days. Several of them have 
even been introduced upon the theatre, and have furnished fresh 
food for French gayetf. The fabliau of the Fancan gave rise to 
the bpera of Le Magnifitpie, That of the Myre produced LeJIIis- 
didn malgré lui y and to La Housse partie we are indebted for the 
comedies of Conaxa and Les Deux Gendres, In the fabliaux, we 
find the originals of Parnell's poem of the Hermit ^ of the Zadig 
of Voltaire, and of the tale of Renard^ which Goethe has con- 
verted into a long poem, under the title of Reinecke Fuchs. Le 
Castoyement d^un Père à son Filsy is a collection of twenty-seven 
fabliaux, connected with one anothei*, and forming a manual of 
instruction, presented by a father to his' son, qu his entrance into 
the world. The Ordène de Chevalerie is a simple and interestmg 
recital of the mode, in which the Saltan Saladin caused himself 
to be dubbed a knight by the Crusaders whom he had vanquished. 
In that poem, we find many authentic and contemporary details 
respecting the order of knighthood, the various ceremonies which 
accompanied the presentation of the different pieces of armour to 
the new-made knight, and the signification of these various chi- 
valr^c customs, which are not to be met with elsewhere. Some 
of the fabliaux very nearly approach the romances of chivalry ; 
describing, like them, the heroic manners of the nobles, and not 
the vices çf the common people. These alone are really poefi- 


cal» and diipby a creative imapnalioiiy graceibl pictures, elevaled 
•eotuBeata, liyelj représentations of character, and that BÛztare 
of the snpematoral, irhich so ccMoplete^y ^edoces the inugiiiatioD* 
It is io a fabhao of this class, Le Lay dt TOue/er,* that we meet 
with the following comparison between the worship of God and 
of toTC. 


Aad, ia trath, yon weB nay ace, 
Ood and Lave do both agree : 
God lores trntli and rcTerence, 
Nor with those will- Love dispense ; 
God hates pride and trenehery. 
And Love likes fidelity ; 
God loves honour and coortesy. 
So does Love as well as he ; 
^od to prayers will give an ear. 
Nor does Lovo refuse to hear.f 

To the same class belong, also, the Lay of Arktotie, by Henn 
d'A«deley4 from which we have derived the entertainiog opera ' 
of JrwMa jflmoareax. Io the middle ages, antiqoitjr was repre* 
aeated in the garb of chivalry . The people of that day could scarcely 
comprehend how there coidd have existed manners and a mode of 
life different from their own. Ancient Greece, BMreover, was 
only known to the ^ople of the West, throQ|^ the mediim of 
the Arabians. The L^ of Aristotle was,' in all probabilitj, itadf 
of eastern origin ; for that philosopher and his disciple, Alexmi- 
der, were in the number of those Greeks, whose praises the Aira- 
biaas had the greatest pleasore in celebrating. 

Alexander, accordrng to the poet, is arrested by Loye, in the 
midst of his conquests. He dreams of nothing bat how he naay 
amuse his mistress with festivals, and testify his passion. All hn 
barons, his knights, and his soldiers, lament over his inactivi^. 

^ But of this ho took no este ; 

For he found his Love so fair. 
Past his hopes, that his desire 
Never after mounted higher 

* JPhMoiur, vol. iii. p. 119. 

t fit, poor vérité vous record 
Dieu et Amour sont d^ui accord, 
Dieu aime sens et honnrance. 
Amour ne Pa pas en viltance ; 
Dieu hait orgueil et fausseté, 
£t Amour aime loyauté ; 
Dieu aime honneur et courtoisie. 
Et honne Amour ne hait-il mie ; 
Dieu écoute belle prière, 
Amour ne la met pas arrière, etc. 

% FéilMK^ ▼oL i. p. 96. 



OF THE TRO0VftAE8. 169 

Tbàtt #Ub ker M lite in bliiA. 
Lovft a powerftil master it, 
Since of mtQ so mat and brave 
He can make an humble slave, 
Who no other care «•ball take ' 
Than fo^ his sweet lady's sake.* 

No one dares to inform Alexander of the discontent of hit 
army. His master, Aristotle, alone, whose aotiiority oyer his 
pupil was the recall of hi» ra^t knowledge and piofound wisdom, 
reproaches the conqueror of the world with forgetting himself 
«for love, with Huffering his army to lie inactive in the midst of his 
conquests, and with disgusting the whole order of knighthood. 
Alexander, touched with these reproaches, promises to forsake 
his mistress, and remains some days without seeing her : 

Bat her pleasant memory 

Did not, with hai* presence, flee ; 

Love recalls each lovely grace, 

Her sweet manner, her mir face 

la whose features yoa eould trace, 

Nouflbt of malice or of ill; 

Her bright forehead, like some chill 

AflCd crystal fountafn ; her fine fonb, 

Fair hair, and mouth i^ith beauty warm : 

Hoilr, in aisebiert name, he eriea. 

Can I lire, without this prize rf 

At last, he can no longer resist the desire ot again heholding 
bér ; and he returns to her» eicusing his absence by relating how 
sharply be had been reprimanded by bis master. The lady 
swears to revenge herself, and to make Aristotle himself bow to 
thé power of her charms. She seeks him in the garden where 

^ Dont il ne se repentoit mie, 
Car il SToit tirouvé sa mie 
Si belle qu'on put souhaiter. 
N'aToit cure d'ailleurs plaider, 

1?^km^ ^iflv^k^M^k^ s»*» Bi&^kj&^aai* ^S- AAm^k 

JT vra owmTcc till mvsvir ci cuo* 

Bien est Amour puissant et maître, 
Quand du monde le plus puissant 
Fait si humble et obéissant 
Qall ne prend plus nul aoiv de lui, 
Aius s'oublie tout pour autrui. 

Mais il nCa pat le soavenlr 
Laissé ensemble atee là voie ; 
Qu'Amour lui rauMmbrèet ravoie 
Son clair visage, sa fk^n, 
Où il n'a nulle retraçon 
DéTltenie nidémal; 
^ont i^oli, pW clair (jtts erlstalt 
Beau corps, belle bouché, blôild chef. 
Ah, fait-Il, eomme à grand mesehef 
Veulent toutes gens que je vive ? 

Vol. I. 22 ^ 


he is stodying, aDd employs ail the arts of coquetry to seduce 
him. The philosopher in vain calls to mind his age, his ffx^j 
head, aod his discoloured and meagre featore». He perceives 
that he ha» devoted himself uselesiHÎy to study, and that all his 
learning will not preserve him from love. He hiimhiy throws 
himself upon the compassion of the lady, and declares himself 
her slave. She does not upbraid him,. hut imposes a penaoce, to 
punish him for the rebellious counsels which he had given ta his 

Said the lady, yoa must briog 
Yourself to do another ttiing; ; 
If, indeed, you feel love's fire, 
Yuu must do what I desire : 
Know, then, that it is my pride 
This day, on your back to ride 
Through the grass and garden gay ; 
If you answer not with nay, 
I wilt straightway saddle you. 
That will be the best to do.* 

The philosopher can refuse nothing to the lady, whom be sa 
passionately loves. He falls on all fours, and suffers het to place 
a saddle on his back. The lady mounts, and guides him, with a 
string of roses, to the foot of the tower, where Alexander is 
waitint; for her, and where he wttnesseii the triumph of love over 
*^ the most skilful clerk in all the world. ''f 

But the most interesting, and, perhaps, the most celebrated of 
all the fabliaux, is that of Aucassin and Nicolette,]; which Legrand 
has g^ven under the title of Les Amourf du bon vieux temp^, and 
which has furnished the subject for a very agreeable opera^ 
full of the splendours of chivalry. The original is wntten 
alternately in prose and verse, with a few lines of music oc- 
casionally interspersed. The language, which resembles that 
of Ville-Hardouin, seems to belong to the earlier part of the 
thirteenth century, and is the dialect of Champagne. The 

* Dit la Dame ; ▼cas convient faire 
Pour moi un moult divers affaire, 
Si tant êtes d'amour surpris ; 
Car un moult li^rand talent m* a pri» 
De TOUS un petit chevaucher 
Dessus cette herbe, en ce verger : 
Et si veux, dit la Demoi'telle, 
Qu'il ait sur vos dos une selle^ 
Si serai plus honnêtement. 

t [The Lay of Aristotle is to be found in Way's Fabliaux, vol. ii. p. 159 ; but 
the passage given by M. de Sismendi is not sufficiently li|eral, in the tranala» 
Hon, to authorize its iasertion.— 'TV» 

$ fVINMc, vaL i. p. 380. 


Prorençëils baye, however, laid claim to this tale, the scene of 
nrhich iê laid in their territories. Aacassin, the son of the 
Coant de Beaucaire, falls passionately in lore with Nicolette, a 
young girl' whose parents are unknown, and whom his father 
is UH willing he should marry. In «he mean time, the Count of 
Valencia, the en^uiy of B<>HUcairf*, besieaje!» the city, whirh is on 
the point of being taken ; and the Count de Beaucaire in vain so- 
licits his 8on to place himself at the head of the troops. Aucas^in 
refuses to tight, unless his father will promise him Nicniette, as 
the reward of his valour. Havmg extorted this promise from 
the Count, he makes a sallv, and returns victorious. The Lord 
of Beaucaire, relieved from his» terror, forgets his promise, and 
being indignant at the idea of his son's unworthy alliance, he 
causes Nicolette to be carried off. 

* Soon 88 her doom this hapless orphan spied, 
To B smaH casement with quiek step she hied, 
And o'er the garden cast her wiihfal sight, 
AU gay with flowers it seem'd, a garden of delight ; 
On every spray the merry birds did sing. 
And hailM the season's prime with fluttering wing: 
'* Ah, wo is me !" she cried, in doleful cheer, 
" ho ! here I bide, for ever prison'd here ! 
^' Sweet lore ! sweet Aacassin ! for thee confined i 
" For that dear {owe which fills our mutual mind ! 
**' Yet shall their deeds ne^er shake my constant will, 
" For I am true of heart, and bent to love thee still ff 

* [This translation is eitracted from Mr. Way's Fabliaux, where the reader 
«ill find the story of Attcassia and Nicolette very beautifully paraphiued. See 
▼oli.p.6.— 2V.J 

■I. Nicolette est en prison mise, 
Dans une chambre à vuûte grise, 
Bâtie par grand artifice, 
Et empeinte à la mosaïce. 
Contre la fenêtre marbrine 
S*en vint 8*appu>er la mesquine; 
Chevelure blonde et poupine 
Avoit, et la rose au matin 
N'étoit si fraîche que son teint. 
Jamais plus belle on ne vit. 
Elle regarde par la grille, 
Et voit la rose épanouie, 
Et. les oiseaux qui se dégoiseot 
Lors se plaint ainsi I' orpheline; 
Las, malheureuse que je suis ! 
Et pourquoi suis*je en prison mise ? 
Ancassin, damoiseau, mon sire, 
Je suis votre fidèle amie. 
Et de vous nqgpia point haie ; 
Pour vous je suis en prison mise, 
Bn cette chambre à voûte ^riae. 
J^f traînerai ma triste vie 


It i^ unnecessary to i^akeanj further i^xtracts from this fabliau, 
which the opera of .-\ucassin aqii Kicolette has rendered suffi- 
ciently known. Nicolette, escaping frono her prisçin, takeç Tefuge 
vyith the King of Torreloro (Logodoro, or Le Torri, in Sardinia,) 
ap4 afterwards' in Carthage. Her birth is, in the ipean while» as- 
certained to be iUustriou9, and she returns to Provence in dis- 
guise, where she is discovered by heriover, apd all ends happily. 
The latter part of the tale is confused, apd badly put together; 
but the fir;>t twenty pages of the poem are written with a simpli- 
city, a pprity, and a grace, which have, perhaps^ i^ever beeQ 
equalled by tny poet of the good old times. 

The Trouvères likewise possessed a few lyrical poets. Al- 
though their language was less harqionious than tiiat of the people 
of the South, and although their imagination wa$i lesa lively, and 
their passions less ardent, yet they did not absolutely neglect a 
species of composition which formed the glory pf their rivals.' 
They attempted to introduce into the Langue d'Oil all the various 
form«; of versification, which the Troubadours had invented for 
the Langue d'Oc. Lyrical poetry was more especially culti- 
vated by the powerful nobility, and we have scarcely any other 
songs remaining, than such as are the composition of sovereign 
princes. Thibaud III., Count of Champagne, who flourished 
from 1201 to 1253, and who ascended the throne of Nayarre in 
1234. is the most celebrated of the French poets of the middle 
ages, not only on account of his regnl dignity, tot Qf his attach- 
ment, real or supposed, to Blanche of Castile, the mother of Saint 
Louis, and of the influence which his romantic amours had upon 
the affaii^s of his. kingdom. The poems of the Kiqg of Navarre 
are el^ceedingly difi^ult to comprehend. Anti<(u^ words w«re 
long considered in France as more poetical than modiern ones ; and 
thus, while the language of prose was polished and perfected, that 
of poetry retained all its early obscurity. Tbei lyric poets, 
moreover, seem to have attached greater iq^portance to the 
sounds to the alteration of the rJiymes, and to. the: rigorous obser- 

Sans que jamais mon cœur Tarie, 
Oar toujours sérai-je sa mie. 

Tbe preceding version has been seleeled, as approaching nearest to the 
modern language. In tbe manuscripts 'printed bf M* M<^n, the poem is in 
verses of seven syllables, and tiOBÈimenees thas : 

Nicole est en prison mi^e 
En une canbre vautie ' ' 
Ki faite est par grant deviji^s, 
Panturèe à mir^ie. ' ' 
A la fenêtre sÉàrbrine # 
La s'apoyà la nesçine ; 
Elle avoil Monde îi ierîgne 
Et bien faite la smQle/etc. 

or THK TBOUVfiRlig. 1T$ 

fatioos of the laws establH^bed by the Troid>«ioan for regolatiog 
the constraction of the f^tanza in their songs, tbeir tensons, and 
their sirventes, than to the sense and the sentiments which they 
were expressing. The two volomes, therefore, of the King of 
Navarre^d poems, which hiire been published bj La Ravallière, 
are a curious monument of the langUHi^e and maaners of the timeti 
but present few aitractidns to the reader. 

Among the princes who led their troops to the later crosadea. 
and whose verses have been preserved, may be mentionea 
Thierry de Soissons, of the ancient house of Nesle» who waa 
made prisoner in Egypt, at the battle of Mast^oora; the Vidame 
de Chartres, of the ancient house of Vendôme ; the Count of 
Brittany, Jean the sou of Pierre de Dreux, called Maaclerc ; the 
Lord Bernard de la Ferté ; Gaces Braies, a knight and gentleman 
of Champagne, and a friend of the King of Navarre ; and Raoal II. 
de Coucy, killed in 1249, at the side of St. Louis, at the battle of 
Massoura. His grandfather, Ka<mL I. de Coucy, the hero of the 
tragedy of Gabrielle de Vergy, was slain in Palestine, in 1191. 
The companions of St. Loul^^ the valorous kni;^h(s who accom- 
panied him to the crusade, were delighted with listening to the 
tales of the Trouvères, «ho, during the festivals, related to them 
amusing, and often licentious anecdotes, and diverted them with 
marvellous adventures. When, however, they assumed the lyre 
themselves, their own sentiments and their own passions were 
tbeir theme. They sang of love or war, and they left to inferior 
bards the task of mere narration. In order to give some idea of 
this kind of composition, I shall extract, not in its original form, 
bat in the shape which M. de Montcrif has given it, one of the 
tender and almost languishing songs of Raoul de Coney, his Lay 
de departicy when he followed St. Louis to the crasade. 

How cmel is it to depart, 

Lady ! who caqsest all my grief! 

My body to its lord's relief 
Must go, but thou nstain'st my heart. 
To Syria now I wend my way, ^ 

Where Paynim swords no terror more ! 
Yet sad shs^ be each lingering day, 

Far from the side of her 1 loVe. 

We learn from many a crave divine 

That God hath written in his taws, 

That, to avenge his holy cause, 
All earthly things we must resign. 
Lord ! I surrender all to thee 1 

No goods hare f, nor castle (hir ; 
But, were my lady kind to me, 

I should not know regret nor care. 

At least, in this strangle foreign land. 
My thoughts may dwelKhy night and day, 
(Fearless of whaLiistraetors say) 

On her whose smile ii^ eter bhmd. 


And now I nake mj will— «ii4 bere 

I give, and fuUy do doTise, 
My heart to her 1 bold so dear. 

My soul to God in paradise.* 

Among the songs of the Châtelain de Coucy, preserved in tbe 
Royal Library, I know not whether 1 am correct in imagining 
that I have discovered the original of the piece given by M. de 
Montcrif. The song, which is subjoined in the note,t is on tbe 

* Qoe cruelle est ma départie, 
Dame qui causez ma langueur ! 
Mon corps ?a servir son seigneur, 
Mon cœur reste en votre balie ; 
Je yais soupirant en Syrie, 
Et des Payens n'ai nulle peur. 
Mais dure me sera la vie 
Loin de Polget de mon ardeur. 

L'on nous dit et Ton nous sermonna 
Que Dieu, notre bon Creator, 
Veut qoe pour venger son honneur 
Tout dans ce monde on abandonne* 
A sa volonté je m'adonne ; 
Je n'ai plus ni château ni bien. 
Mais que ma belle me soit bonne, 
Et je n'aurai regret à rien. 

Du moins dans cette étrange terre 
Fourrai je penser jour et nuit 
A ma dame au charmant souris,. 
Sans craindre la gent mauparlière; 
Et pour ma votonté dernière, 
Je lègue, et clairement le dis. 
Mon cœur à celle qui m'est chère, 
Mon &me au Dieu de paradis. 

t Oimi amors si dure départie 
Me convendm faire de la moillor 
Qui oncques fust amée ne servie. 
Dez me ramoint à lui por sa douçor 
Si Toirement que j'en part à dolor. 
Dex ! qu'ai-je dit, je ne m'en part jô mie ; 
Se li cors va servir notre seignor. 
Tout li miens cuers remfiict en sa baillie. 

Por II m^en rois sopirant en surie, 
Que nul ne doit faillir son Creator; 
Qui li faudra à cest besoing d abie, . 
Sachié de voir, faudra li à greignor, 
Et saichiez bien li grant et li minor 
Que là doit-on faire chétive We. 
Là se conquiert paradis et honor, 
£t pers et los et l'amor de sa mie* 

Lonc tems aTona esté prou paix oifleuze^ 
Or partira qui acertes iert preu ; 
Vescu avons à honte doloreuze, 
Dont tous U monz est iriez et htnteus 


same sat^ect, anë has eyeii manj pf the same rhymes ; and jet it 
18 not exactly the same tbiog. Another poem, (ikewise, on his 
departure» displays much sensibility at the commencement, but 
baa no resemblance to the first piece.* The manuscript song?" of 
these early French poets are not to be found in regular order, in 
the folumes in wbicb we look for them. They are dispersed 
amoog a thousand other poems, and after having turned over 

mapj volumes, we cannot be confident that we have seen theaa 


This race ofheroesf was succeeded by other poets» who pe- 

Qusot à nos tent e»t perda Ufâint leu» 
Ou Dex por nos soffrit moit angoiasease» 
Or ne nos doit retenir aule honeiu 
D'iUler vengier cette perte hontenie» 

Qui YQet «noir honre et vie «nviouie 
Se Yoiit morir lies et hraz et joiauc. 
Car celé mort est douce et saToreuse 
^tt conquis est paradis et honors ; 
Ne ja de mort n'en i norra i tous,^ 
iUns vivront tuit on vie gloriouse, 
Et saicbiez bien, qui ne fust amoroaz* 
Moût fust la voie et bêle et delitouze. 

Tuit li clei|^e, et li home d*aaige, 

Que de bienfai» et d'aamosnes vivront. 

Partiront tuit à cest pelerinalge ; 

Et les Dames qui chastes se tendraat, ^ 

Et léauté portent à ces qui iront. 

Et se les font per mal conseil folage, 

Ha ! les quels gens mauvaises les feront? 

Car tuit li bons iront ea cet viage. 

Des est assis en soit haut héritage : 

•Or parra bien co cil le secorront, 

Cui il geta de la prison ombrage, ^ 

Quant il fut mis en la croix que tuit ont. 

Certes tuit cil sont honnis que n'i vont 

S'ils n'ont pov'tè, ou vieillesse oa malage. 

Et cil qui jove et sain, et riche sont 

Ne porront pas demorer sans hontage. 

* Another song of the Châtelain de Coney thus begins t 

S'oncques nuls homs por dure départie 
Ot cuer dolant, je l'aurai por raison, 
Oncques tortre qui pert son compaigaon 
Ne remeat jor de moipplus esbahie. 
CJiacuns plore sa terre et son pays, 
Quand il se part de ses coraux amis ; 
Mais nuls partir, saichez, que que nuls die^ 
N'est dolorous, que d'ami et d'amie. 

t The interest attached to the names of distingkished men, and to our hit*' ' 
lorical recollections, gives a value to all the little poems, which have been 
written by the heroes of the crusades. We endeavour to dlscovsr tn Chcfm the 

176 ON TÉIB LffËRATVitfi 

Ihfhed^ the language of the TroaTére9, dud #bo, tike ihéit pr cfâe- 
cessort, confirmed their national taatê for ta^ed, alle^rreê, and 
refieâ, in which wit and information were mingled. Na éirtfactt 
from these authors are given, heeawe h is the object of this wofk 
to treat of French literature only in connexion with the Romantic 
poetry, and as it exerted an influencé orer the narttons of the Sooth. 
Instead of employrni^ ourseWes upon the poems of the historian 
Froissatt, of Charles Du^te of Orléans, of Alain Chartter, of ViHon, 
and of Coqoillart, who, however largely they contributed to the 
iiâproTement ot the French, had no shifre m fprtemgthe other lan- 
guages of the South, we shall mvestigate the origin of the Myste- 
ries, or the Romantic Dratna, which first arose in France, and 
served as a model fof the drainMtJc ^epreëeiytatiéns both of Spaio 
and England. 

The French justly claim the merit of being (be firat discoverers 
of a form of composition, which has given such a lively character 
to the works of the imaginatiicrn. They define poetry and the fine 


spirit and intimate thoughts of tfao^e pteiut t^itàHèrs. Thh taust be nj ex- 
cuse for inserting, in their modern form, a few «tanxas 0f thé third song of the 
Yidame de Chartres, in whiéh he ^t es u» the portrait of lAi iislstress ; 

Ecoutez, nobles cfaeTaUers, 
Je f ous tracerai volontievs 

L'image de qia belle. 
Sob nom jamais ne le sauréx. 
Mais si parfois la rencontrez, 
Aisément la reeonnoitrèz 

A ce portrait adèle^ 

Ses ehcTcux blonds comme û\ d'or 
Ne sont ni trop longs ni lft>p cort, 

Tous repliés en onde ; 
Sous son front Uanc comme le Ijs, 
Où Ton ne rfM tachée ni plis, ' 
S'élèvent deux sourcils jolis, 

Area triompbane d« monde. 

Ses jeux bleus, attrajàns, rians 
Sont quelquefois fiers et poignans, 

digriotaas par mesore ; 
Par l'amour même ils sont fendus, 
De doux filets y sont tendus,- 
Et tombent cceors gros et* menus 

Par si belle oaverture. 

The following is the last stanza : 

S'en sa? ois plus, ne le dfirois, 
Car mon trop parler grereroit 

D'amor la confiance ; 
Si ne peut chevalier d'honneur 
Manquer à Daine et à Seigneur 
Sans de^ Dieu mériter'rig«iur 

Et nidè pittance. 

op TH8 TItOVTfiâGS. 179 

tirte, bycftlliogthem imiuuive arl9, whilst other nations eonsider 
them uthe effasion of the sentimetits of the heart. The object 
of the French authors, in their tales, their romances, and their 
faUiaux, is to present a faithful pictare of the characters of others» 
and fiot to develope their own. They were the first, at â period 
when the ancient drama was entirely forgotten, to represent, in 
a dramatic form, the great events which, accompanied the e^tab- 
lithment of the Christian religion; the mysteries, the belief in 
which waé inculcated, as a part of that system ; or the incidents 
ofdoÉiestic life» to excite the spectators to laughter, after the 
more serions representations. The same talent which enabled 
them to térsify a long history in the heroic style, or to relate a 
humorous anecdote with the spirit of a jester, prompted them to 
9c)opt, In their dramas, similar subjects and a similar kind of ver- 
sification. They left to those who had to recite these dialogues, 
the care of delivering them with an air of truth, and of accompa- 
nying them with the deception of scenic decoration. 

The first who awakened the attention of the people to compo- 
Bitiona, in which many characters were introduced, were the pil* 
grims who had returned from the Holy Land. They thus dis- 
played to the eyes of their countrymen all which they hnd them- 
selves beheld, and with which every one was desirous of being 
acquainted. It is believed, that it was in the twelfth, or at all 
Stents in the thirteenth century,.that these dramatic représenta- * 
tioos were first exhibited in the open streets. It was not, how- 
ever, until the conclusion of the fourteenth century, that a com- 
pany of pilgrims, whO| by the representation of a brilliant specta- 
cle, had assisted at the solemnisation of the nuptials between 
Charles VI. and Isabella of Bavaria, formed an establishment in 
Paris, and undertook to amuse the public by regular dramatic en- 
tertidnmenta. They were denominated the Fraternity of the 
Passion t from the Passion of 6ur Saviour being one of their most 
celehraied representations. 

This mystery, the most ancient dramatic work of modem Eu- 
rope, comprehends the whole history of onr Lord, from his bap- 
tism to his death. The piece was too long to be represented 
without interruption. It was, therefore, continued fjrom day to 
(lay ; and the whole mystery was divided into a certain number 
of journées, each of which included the labours or the represen- 
tation of one day. This name of journée^ which was abandoned 
in France, when the t^ysteries became obsolete, has. retained its 
place in the Spanish language, although its origin is forgotten, 
eighty-seven characters, successively, appear in the Mystery 
of the Fassiôo, among whom we find the three persons of the Tri- 
nity, six angels or archangels, the twelve apostles, six devils, 
Herod and his whole court, and a host of personi^s, the inven- 
tion oif the poet's brain. Extravagant machinerv «eems to have 
been employed, to give to the representation all the pomp which 
've find in the operas of the present day. Many of the scenes 

Vol. I. «3 



appear to have been recited to miMic, and we likewise meet witb 
choruses. The intenningled verses iodicate a very perfect ac* 
qaaiDtance with the harmony of the langaage. Some of the cha« 
racters are well drawn, and the scenes occasionally display a con- 
siderable degree .of grandeur, energy , and tragic power. Althoui^ 
the language sometimes becomes very prosaic and heavy» and some 
most absurd scenes are introduced, we yet cannot fail to recognise 
the very high talents which must have been employed in the con* 
ception of this terrible drama, which not only surpasses its models, 
but, by placing before the eyes of a Christian assembly all those 
incidents for which they felt the highest veneration, must have af- 
fected them much more powerfully than even the finest tragedies 
can do, at the present day* 

A few lines and quotations cannot give a clear idea of a work so 
long and various as this ; a work which, when printed im double 
columns, fills a large folio volume, and exceeds^ in length, the 
united labours of our tragic authors. Still, as it is our objecfta 
enable the reader to judge for himself, and as we shall have occa- 
sion to present him with extracts from compositions, no less bar- 
barous in the earlier stage of the Spanish drama, and which are 
merely imitations of the great French Mystery, it will be as well 
to introduce, at least, some verses from this astonishing production, 
and to give an idea of the various styles, both tragic and comic, of 
the author. The clearness of the language, which is much more 
intelligible than that of the lyrical poets of the same period, im- 
mediately strikes us. Those poets attributed, not only more sim- 
plicity, but also more pomp to the antique phraseology.* But this 
stately style of expression was excluded from poetry which was in- 
tended to become popular. The grandeur of the ideas and of the 
language of the Mystery of Passion, might be thought, in some in* 
stances, to belong to a more cultivated age. Thus, in the coun- 
cil of the Jews, in which many of the Pharisees deli ver. their opi- 
nions at considerable length, Slordecai expresses himself in the 
following terms : 

When the Bfeseiah shall eommand, 

We trust that, with a mighty hand, 

In traoqail union, he shall rule the land ; 

His head shall with a diadem be crown'd 

Glory and wealth shall in hb house abound ; 

In justice shall he sway it, and in peace ; 

And should the strong oppress or rob the poor, 

Or tyrant turn the vassal from his door, 

When Christ returns, these enls ail shall cease.* 


Quant Messias, quant le Crist régnera, 
Nous espérons qu'il nous gourernera 
En forte main, en union tranquille ; 
Couronne d'or sur son chef portera, 
Gloire et richesse en sa matscn aura. 


- Saint John enters into a long discourse, and we can only ac- 
cooBt for the patience with which our forefathers listened to these 
tedious harangues, bj^supposbg that their fatigue was considered 
bj them to be ap acceptable offering to the Deitj ; and that they 
were persuaded that eVery thing which did' not eicite them to 
laughter or tears, was put dowiHo the account of their edification. 
The following scene in dialogue, in which Saint John undergoes 
an interrogation, displays considerable ability : — 

Thoagh faUen be man*t ■infill Ifaie, 
Holy Prophet ! it \» writ, 
Christ shall come to riiisom it, 
And by doctrine, and by sign 
Bring theifr to his grace dÎTÎne. 
Whereforo, seeing now the force 
or thy high deeds, thy grave discourse^ 
And firtues shown of great esteem. 
That thon art he we surely deem. 


I am not Messiah ! — No ! 
At the feet of Christ I bow. 


Why, tfaed^ wildly waoderest thou, 
Naked, in thu wilderness 7 
Say ! what fhith dost thou profess ? 
And to whom thy serrice paid ? 

Justice et paix régira sa famille* 

Et si le fort le povre oppresse ou pSIe, 

Si le tyran son franc Tassai exille, 

Quant Crist viendra tout sera mis en oodre. 


Sainct Prophète ! il nous est escript 

Que le Crist, pour nous racheter, 

Se doit à nous manifester. 

Et réduyre par sa doctrine 

Le peuple en sa grace diyine. 

Far quoi, yeu les enseignemens ^ 

Les hauls faits et les préchemens 

Dont tu endoctrines tes proesmes ; 

Nous doultons que ce soit toy-mesmes 

Qui montres tes belles vertus. 


Non suis ; je ne suis pas Christus, 
Mais desouls lui Je m'huaiilie, 


D*où te Tiaat doncques la foHe 
De toi tenir en cea déserts, 
Toot nu; db noos de quoi to sara^i 
Et qoalle doctrine tu preaehes t 



- « 

Thou a88emble9t, it is «aid, 
, In these lonely woods, a crowd 
To hear tby Toice proclaiming loud, 
Like that of our most holy men. 
Art thou a king in Israol, thon 7 ' 
Know'st thou the laws and prophoqes ? 
Who art thou Ï say ! 


* Thou dost adrise 
Messiah is come down below. 
Hast seen him ? say, how dost thon know 7 
Or art thou he 1 


I answer, No ! 


Who art thou ? Art Elias then ? 
Perhaps Elias? 




Who art thou ? what thy name ? Express ! 
For noTor sorely shall we guess. 
Thou art the prophet ! 


On nous a dit que to t'empesekiBS 
D'assembler peuples par ces bpîs 
Pour venir escouter ta foii. 
Comme d'un homme solemnel. 
£s<tu donc maître en Israël ? 
Scai-tu les lois et prophéties, 
Qu'est-ce de toi? 


Tu nous publies 
Que Messy as est jà venu ; 
Comme le scai-tu? I'sU-tu tu ? 
Est-cetoi ? 


Ce ne suis-je mye. 


Et quel homine es-tu donc ? Helye ? 
Te dis-tu Helyas? 



OF TMK VMUVKftfifi. lêl 

SAJiiT jonr. 


Who and what iffttkott? TtUoawlwl! 
That true answer we may bear 
To oar lords, who aoiil ua haie 
To learn thy name and mission. 

SAINT jpnr. 


A Toieot a solUtry ory 

In the desert paths am I ! 

Smooth the paths, and make them meet» 

For the great Redeemer's feet. 

Him, who brom^t by our misdoing, 

Comes for this foul waiM'a nnewiag. 

The result of this scene is the comrersion .of Hke persons to 
whom Saint John addresses himself, ^hey eagerly demand to be 
baptized, and the ceremony is followed by the paptism of Jesus 
himself. But the versification is not so remarkable as the stage 
directions, which transport us to the very period of tli«se Cfetjliic 

** Here Jef us enters the waters of Jordnni all naked» apd Smt 
John takes some of the water in hi» hand and thfewf it w tke 
head of Jeaus:— 

Non 7 
Qui es to donc I quel est ton Aom 7 
Imaginer je ne le pids. 
Tu es le Prophète I 



Qui es-tu donc 7 or te dénonce. 
Afin que nous donnons réponse 
Aux grans Princes de notre foi. 
Qui nous ont trAnimia deron» toi 
Pour saToir qui tu es. 


Vox domonlM m disarto. 
Je suis Toiz au déseH criant, 
Que chacun soit reatiflant 
La Toie du SauVeur du Monde, 
Qui Tient pour notre coulpe fanmonde 
Képarer sans douhte quemonque. 



Sir, yoa'now baptised «re, 
As it sttiti my simple skill. 
Not the lofty rtnk you fill ; 
Unmeet for sneh great service I ; 
Tet my God, so debonair, 
- All that's wantiiy wiU sapply.* 

<« Here Jcsas comes out of the rirer Jordan, and throws himself 
on his knees, all naked, before Paradise. Then God the Father 
•peaks, and the Holy Ghost descends, in the form of a white dove, 
upon the head of Jesus, and then returns mto Paradise : — and 
note that the words of God the Father be very audibly pronoun- 
ced, and well sounded in three voices ; that b to s^» » treble, a 
counter-treble, and a counter-bass, all in tune : and in this way 
must the following lines be repeated*-; 

SSc istfiHiu nmi$ dSUetiUf 


C'estui-ci est mon fils amé Jésus, 

due bien me plaist, ma plaisance est en lui*" 

As ÛM mystery was not only the model of subsequent tragedies, 
but of comedies likewise, we must extract a few verses from the 
dialogues of the devils, who fill all the comic parts of the drama. 
The eagemest of these personages to maltreat one another, or, 
as the original expresses it, à ae torchonner (to give one another 
a wipe) mways produced much laughter in the asselnbly. 


Who he Is I cannot teB — 

This Jesus ; but I know AiU well 

That in all the worids that be, 

There is not such a one as he* 

Who it is that gave him birth 

I know not, nor firom whence on earth 

He came, or what great devil taught him. 

But in no eril hare I caught him ; 

Nor know I any rice he hath. 



Sire, TOUS êtes baptixé. 
Qui à TOtre haute noblesse 
N'appartient ne à ma simplesse, 
8i digne service de fhire ; 
Toutefois mon Dieu débonnaire 
Yeoflle suppléer le surplus. . 

t MMTB- 

Je se s^ay qui est oe Jésus, 
Mais Je eroy qu'en INmiversel 
NVn y a pont eocore ung tel ; 
Qui que rait en terre conçu, 

or THB TROUVKftES. 189 


titro ! but you make ne wroth ; 
When such -dismal news I hear^ 


Wherefore bo ? 


Because I fear 
He will make my kiogdom less. 
LeaTe him in the wildemesSj 
And let us return to' hell 
To Lucifer our tale to tell, 
And to ask his sound adTice. 

The imps are ready ixira trice } 
Better eacort cannot be. 


Is it Satan that I see, 

And Berith, coming in a passion ? 


Master let me lay the lash on« 
Here's the thing to do the deed* 

Je ne sçay d'dù il est Issu, 
Ne quel grant.dyable l*a presché; 
Mais il n'est vice ne péché 
Pe quoi je le sçusse charger. 


Haro, tu me fais enrager 

<b>And il faut que tels mots escoute. 


Et pourquoi? 


Pour ce que je douhte 
Qu^n la fin j'en soie désert* 
Laissons-le ici en ce désert, 
Et nous en courons en enfer 
Nous conseiller à Lucifer, 
Sur les cas que je lui ▼eoix dire» 


Les dyables tous feulent conduire^ 
Sans avohr meilleur sraf conduit. 


J'aperçoy Sathan et Berith, 
Qui leriennent moult empêchés* 


Si TOUS Toulez qu'ils soient torchés, 
Yecy les instrumens tous prêts. 



Pleaie to moderate yoar speed, 
To lash behind and lash before ye^ 
Ere yoa hear them tell their story, 
Whether shame they bring, or glory* 

As soon as the devils have given an account to their sovereign 
of their observations and their vain efforts to tempt Jesus, Asta» 
roth throws himself upon them with his imps» and lashes them 
.back to earth from the infernal regions* 

The example which was set by the atithor of the Mystery of 
the Passion, was soon followed by a crowd of imitators, whose 
names, for the most part, have been lost. The Mystery of the 
Conception, and the Nativity of our Lord, and of the Resurrec- 
tion, are among the most ancient of these. The legends of the 
saints were in their turn, dramatised and prepared for the theatre ; 
and, in short, the whole of the Old Testament was brought upon 
the stage. In the same mystery, the characters were often intro- 
duced at various stages of life* as infants, youths, 'and old men, 
represented by different actors ; and in the maigin of some of the 
mysteries wf find. Here enter the ieeamd^ or the thirds Israel or Ja^ 
cob. When the mystery was founded on historical facts not j^ene- 
rally known, the poets exercised their own invention more freely, 
and did not hesitate to mingle comic steties in very serious pieces. 
Thus, when they exhibited the saints triumphibg over temptatioui 
and their contempt for the allurements of the Hesh, they often in- 
troduced language and scenes quite at variance with the serious 
nature of these sacred dramas. 

The theatre, on which the mysteries were represented, was 
always composed of an elevated scaffold, divided into three parts; 
heaven, hell, and the earth betwe^ them. It was in this central 
portion that Jerusalem was sometimes represented, or occasionally 
the native country of some saifit or patriach, whither angels de- 
scended «or devils ascended, as their interference in munclme 
'affairs was called for. In the higher and the lower parts of the 
theatre, the proceedings of the Deity and Lucifer might be dis- 
cerned. The pomp of these rcpresentatioDs continued increasing 
for the space of two centuries ; and, as great value was set on the 
length of the piece, some mysteries could not be represented in 
less than forty days. 

The Clercs de la Bazo^é^ or Clerk» of the Revels, who were 
an incorporated society at Parisi and whose duty it was to regulate 
the public festivities, at length resolved to amuse the people with 


Ne te hâte pas ^e •! prè«, 
A frapper derrière et devant ; 
Ouir faut leur rapport avant, 
SçaToir s'il nous porte dommage. 

«If the tRouTESCft. 185 

Sdme dramatic representationB (hemselves. Bat, is the fraternity 
of the Passion had obtained. In 1402» a royal license to represent 
iDYsferies, the clerks were compelled to abstain from that kind 
of exhibition, aAd they, therefore, inrented a new one, which 
ditfered in naiùé| rather than in substance, from the former. These 
Were the MoraliiieSf w^ich were also borrowed from the histori- 
cal parts, 01* the parables, of the Bible, as that of the Prodigal 
Son. Sometimes they were purely allegorical compositions, in 
whicll God and the devil were introduced, accompanied by the 
Virtues or vices. In a morality entitled Le bien adviU et le mal 
advisêy almost forty allegorical characters appear, and, among 
Others, thé diflferent tenses of the verb to ré^fi-*as Regno^ Reg- 
navt, and Regnaho. In the course of this work, we shall have 
occànsion to notice, in speaking of the Spanish drama, even daring 
the times of Lope de Vega and Calderon, the Autos iacramentales, 
which wété ailegorical pieces, evidently of the same nature as 
(he ancieht Moralltiei. 

ti a to the Clerks de la Bazoclie, likewise, that we owe the in- 
Véntioii of comedy^ Whilst the fraternity of thé Passion con- 
ceived themselves bound only, to present edifying pieces to the 
pablic, the Clerks de tu Ba26cbe, who did not consider tbemselveé 
àâ ëedèèiàslïcsy mingled #ith their moralities, farces, of which thé 
sole' object was to excite the laughter of the spectators! All the 
Ë^y^iy at^d tivaeily of'fbe French éharacter were displayed, in the 
indicl^èild representations of such real advecfturéé as had perhaps 
been tli'é conversation of the town. The versification Was ma- 
naged vfit& great care, and one of these farces, the Jvodo^ fathe- 
Itn, iêîXcià was represented fbr the fiirst tiéie in 1 480, and has beeàî 
à^ributed to an ecclesiastic of (he name of Pleri'e Blauchet'dé 
Peltiers, ndây stiD be considered as a^ model o( French gâ/ety and 
(S^thic pôVtéH^ Itlo'ne of' these farces were more suc'c'eSsfut thali 
tfeis, aokl none have so well maintiained' their celebrity. It watf 
transta^d into Latin, in tôiS', by Alexander Connibert, and wa^ 
imitated h^r the famous Reuchlin. Brueys remodelled it, and it 
was agpdn brought forward in 1706, and is represented to thé pre- 
sent day. 

In the reign of Charles VI. likewise, and at the commencement 
of the fifteenth century, a third cemic company was established, 
the Emfane sans souçi^ who, under the command of the chief, le 
Prince dee sofs, undertook to make the French laugh at their own 
follies, and introduced personal, and even political satire upon the 

Thus, every species of dramatic representation was revived by 
the French* This was the result of that talent for imitation, which 
seems pecoliar to the I^rench people, assisted by a pliancy of 
thought, which enables them to conceive new characters, and a 
correctness of intellect, which always carries them directly to the 
object at which they aim, or to the effect which they wish to pro- 
doce. All these discoveries, which led in other countries to the 
Vol. I. • V . 24 



establishttieot of the Romantic drama, were known in France more 
than a century before the rise of the Spanish or Italian theatre^ 
or even before the classical authors were first studied and imitated. 
At the end of the sixteenth century, these new pursuits acquired 
a more immediate influence over the Uterature of France. They 
wrought a change in its spirit and its rules ; but without altering 
the national character and taste, which had been manifested in the 
earliest productions of the Trouvères. It is here that the history 
of the literature of France has its commencement ; and, at the 
same period, we shall abandon it But, in ei^mining the litera« 
ture of the South, which, from the Romance languages, has been 
called the Romantic^ it was necessary to bestow some attention 
upon one of the most celebrated of the Romance dialects, and 
one, too, which boasts of poets who display so superior a fertility 
of invention. If it should be thooght deficient in sensibility, in 
enthusiasm, in ardour, or in depth and truth of thought, it has yet 
surpassed aJl other languages in its inventive genins. We are now 
about to proceed to the History of Italian Poetry, from its rise to 
the present times. Yet, even there, we shall recognise the spirit 
of the Trouvères in the majestic allegories of Dante, who, although 
he has infinitely surpassed it, has yet taken the Romance of the 
Rose for his model. We shall, likewise, trace the same spirit in 
the tales of Boccaccio, which are frequently nothing more than 
the ancient fabliaui. In the poems of Ariosto, also, and in all 
those chivalric epics, for which the romances of Adenez and his 
contemporaries prepared the way, the Trouvères will meet us* 
In the Spanish school, as late as the seventeenth century, we shall 
discover imitations of the ancient mysteries of the Trouvères ; 
and Lope de Vega and Calderon will remind us of the firatemity 
of the Passion* Even among the Portuguese, Vasco Lobeira, the 
author of Amadis, seems to have been educated in this early 
French school. It is not, therefore, without sufficient reason, 
that, in a View of the Literature of the South, we have thought 
ourselves compelled to bestow some attention on the language, the 
spirit, and the poetry of our ancestors. 

f ÏW] 


On the Italian Langage.— Dante. 

The language of ProF^nce had attained its highegt degree of 
cultivation ; Spain and Portugal had already produced more than 
one poet ; and the Langue d'Ot'/, in the north of Francey was re- 
ceiving considerable attention^ while the Italian waa not jet enu< 
merated among the languages of Europe, and the richness and 
harmony of its idiom, gradually and obscurely formed among the 
populace, were not as yet appreciated. But a great poet, in the 
thirteenth century, arose to «mmortalize this hitherto neglected 
tongue, and, aided by his single genius, it soon advanced with a ra- 
pidity which left all competition at a distance. 

The Lombardian Duchy of Benevento, comprising the greater 
part of the modem kingdom of Naples^ had preserved, under in- 
dependent princesi and surrounded by the Greeks and the Sara* 
cens, a degree of civilization, which, in the earlier part of the 
iiiiddle ages, was unexampled throughout the rest of Italy. Many 
of the fine arts, and some branches of science^ were cultivated 
there with success. The schools of Salerno communicated to 
the West the medical skill of the Arabs, and the commerce of 
Amalfi, introduced into those fertile provinces, not only wealth, 
but knowledge. From the eighth to the tenth century, various 
historical works, written, it is true, in Latin, but distinguished for 
their fidelity, their spirit, and their fire, proceeded from the pen 
of several men of talent, natives of that district, some of whom 
clothed tlieir compositions in hexameter verses, which, compared' 
with others of the same period, display superior facility and fancy. 
The influx of foreigners consequent upon the invasion of the Nor- 
man adventurers, who founded a sovereignty in Apulia, was not 
sufficiently great to effect a change in the language ; and, under 
their government, the Italian or Sicilian tongue first assumed a set- 
lied form. The court of Palermo, early in the twelfth centujy, 
abounded in riches,lind consequently indulged in luxurious habits ; 
and there the first accents of the Siciliai> muse were heard. 
There, too, at the same period, the Arabs acquired a degree of in- 
fluence and credit, which they have never possessed in any other 
Christian court. The palace of William the First, like those of 
the monarchs of the East, was guarded by Mahometan eunuchs. 
From them he selected his favourites, his friends, and sometinies 
even his ministers. To attach themselves to the arts and to the 
varions avocations which contribute to the pleasures of li^, waa 
the peculiar province of the Saracens, by whom half of the island 
was still occupied. When Frederick the Second, at the end of 
Ihe twelfth century» succeeded to the throne of the Norman mo- 


narchs^ he transported Domeroiis colonies oi Saraceos into Apulia 
and the Principality, but he did not banish them from either his 
service or bis coart. Of them his army was composed ; and the 
goyemors of his proyinces, whom he denominated Josticiaries, 
were chosen almost exclusiyely from their nomber. Thus was it 
the destiny of the Arabiaos, in the Ea^t as well as in the West of 
Europe, to commonicate to the Latin nations their arts, their 
science, and their poetry. 

From the history of Sicily, we may deduce the effects produced 
by Arabian influence on the Italian, or as it was then considered, 
the Sicilian poetry, with no less certainty than that with which we 
trace its connexion, in the county of Barcelona, knd in the king- 
dom of Castile, with the first efforts of the Proyeoçal and Spanish 
poets. WiUiam the First, an effeminate and yoluptuous prince, 
forgot, in his palace of Palermo, amidst bis Moorish eunuchs, in the 
song and the feast, those commotions which agitated his realms. 
The regency of the kingdom devolved, at his decease, upon his 
widow, who intrusted the government to G^yto Petro, the chief 
of the eunuchs, connected with the Saracens of Africa. AH the 
commerce of Palermo was monopolized by the infidels. They were 
the professors of every art, and the inventors of every yarie^ of 
luxury, l^he nation accommodated itself to their customs ; ana in 
their public festivals, it was usual for Christian and Moorish wopien 
to sing in concert, to the music of their slaves. We may safely 
conclude that on these occasions each party adopted their mother 
tongue ; and that the Italian females wbo respoqded, in melancholv 
cadence to the tambours of tbeir Moorish attendants, would, in au 
probability, adapt Sicilian words to African airs and measures.* 

A complete separation had now taken place between the ordi» 
nary language of the country and the Latin tongue. Of the lat- 
ter, the women were ignorant. The general adoptiop of the 
language to which their delicacy gave new graces, and in which 
alone they were accessible to the gallantry of their admirers, was 
a necessary result. It was now submitted to rules, and enlivened 
by that sensibility of expression, of which a dead and j>edantic 
language ceases to be susceptible. For a century and a half, in 
fact, it would seem that the Sicilians confined themselves to the 
composition of love-songs alone. These primitive specimens ot 
Italian poetry have been studiously preserved, and they hav^ been 
analyzed by M Ginguené, with equal talent and learning. To bis 
work, such of our readers as may wish to obtain a more particular 
knowledge of the^e relics, will have satisfaction in referring ; i|or 

* On the death of William the First qf Sicily, sayi Hugo Falcandos, i^ çete* 
brated contemporary historian, " Per totnm autem hoc triduum mulieres, no- 
Irflesqae motronsB, maxim$ SaraeetUBt quibus ex morte regis dolor non fietos ob- 
veaerst, saccif opert»* imssis crinibiis, et die noetoque tiinn|tttm inee^^nles, 
ancillarumpr^euQte multitudine, totamoivitatem ahilata ca^ip^bafiil, ad palssi^ 
tympana («ntttflebairespondemes.^ t^urslfnri, Script. Rsr. italic, t. «U* p» ^3, 

OF TBS ITA|aAZf6. ' 196 

cm Ùaj apply to a batter aoiirce of ia&uriDation. for mora oam- 
piete aod pix>foaii4 dataila, oo tha sobjaal of Italian poatrj» tbaa 
cao poiaiblj find a place in tbe condensod his^orj of the gantfa) 
literatore of th^ South. 

Tbe querit of amatory poetry çonsiits almost entirely, b ill 08* 
pression. lu warmth and tenderness of sentiment is injured bjr 
any eiertion of mere ingenuity and fiincy» in the pursuit çimkkk 
the poet, or the lo?er, seems to lose sight of his proper olgeoC 
Little more is required from him than to represent with sensibili^ 
aod with truth, the feelings which are common to all who loTo^ 
The harmony of laogaage is the best means of expressing that of 
^be heart* But this principle seems almost entirely to h«v^ ^i^ 
çaped the notice of the first Siciliaa and ' Italian writers* .Tho 
example of the Arabs and of the Pro?,eQçals induced them to 
prefer ostentation to simplicity, and to exercise a fidse and affeded 
taste in the choice of their poetical ornaments. In the best spe- 
cimens of this school, we should find little to reward the labour of 
translating them ; and we feel still less inclined to draw the infe*- 
rior pieces from their deserved obscurity. It is, therefore» pnn^ 
cipally with a view to the history of the language» and of the renl^ 
ficationi that we turn over the pages of Ciullo d'AlcamOt the Sîcî- 
lian ; those of Frederick the Second, and of his Chfmcellor, Piètre 
delle Vigne, of Oddo delle Colonne, of Ma^zeo di JKicco, and of 
other poets of the'same chuss* 

The form of their versification was modelled upofi that of the 
Provencals, or, perhaps, derived its origin from the same aOQPQ^ 
as the latter. The verse was determined, not by the qnaetity, b^ 
by the accent of the syllables, and was always rhymed. Of sU 
the feet employed by the ancients in the combination of syllablea of 
different qoaotity, the iambic alone still continue4 ie use I Sto of 
them being comprised in the heroic verse, and three pr four, 10 
verses of a shorter measure. In tbe former, ten syllables wefe 
thus contained, exclusive of the mute ; of which the foorth, the 
e%hth, and the tenth, or.the sixth and the tenth, i^ere eccented* 
The rhymes were governed by tbe rules of tbe ProTençali» and 
were, as in the poems of that country, intermii^ed in fuch a 
maoner as to anticipate recurriog terminations at certain paasy» 
of the poem, and by thus cpooecting the comppsitWn» to give it e 
stronger hold ppon the memory. The piece was generally di vidad 
into stanzas or couplets, and tbe ear of the reader waf tnng^t te 
appreciate^ not only the musical charm of each individual lipe, hot 
thegeneral barmony of the whole. 

The lançaage employed by the . Sicilians iq their poetical at- 
tempts, was not the popular dialect, as it then exisjted among the 
natives of the island, and as we still find it preiserved in some Si- 
cilian songs, scarcely intelligible to the Italiaos themselves. From 
the Imperial court, and that of the kingp of ^ipily, it had all^ady 
r^^ived a more elegant form ; and those laws of grammair, wUeb 
were originally founded upon custom, had now obtained the ascend- 


ancy over it, and prescribed their own rules. The lingua corti- 
giana^ the language of the court, was already distinguished as (he 
parett of the Italian dialects. In Tuscany, it came into general 
use ; and previous to the end of the thirteenth century, it received 
great stability from several writers of that country, in verse as well 
t« in prose, who carried it very nearly to that degree of perfec- 
tion which it has ever since maintained. For elegance and purity 
of style, Ricordano Malaepina, who wrote the History of Florence 
is 1280, may be pronounced, at the present day, to be in no degree 
inferior to the best writers now extant. 

No poet, however, had yet arisen, gifted with absolute power 
over the empire of the soul ; no philosopher had yet pierced 
into the depths of feeling and of thought; when Dante, the greatest 
name of Italy, and the Either of her poetry, appeared, and demon- 
ftrated the mightiness of his genius, by availinghim^elf of the rode 
and itanperfect matericils within his reach, to construct an edifice re- 
sembibg, in magnificence, that universe whose image it reflects^ 
Instead of amatory effusions, addressed to an imaginary beauty ; 
instead of madrigals, full of sprightly insipidity, sonnets laboured 
into harmony, and strained or discordant allegories, the only 
'models, in any modem language, which presented themselves to 
the notice of Dante ; that great genius conceived, in his vast ima- 
gination, the mysteries of the invisible creation, and unveiled them 
to the eyes of the astonished world. 

In the century immediately preceding, the energy of some bold 
and enthusiastic minds had been directed to religions objects. A 
new spiritual force, surpassing in activity and fanaticism, all mo- 
nastic institutions before established, was organized by Saint 
Francis and Saint Dominicl[, whose furious harangues and bloody 
persecutions revived that zeal,, which, for seversd centuries past, 
bad appeared to slumber. In the cells of the monks, nevertheless, 
the firint symptoms of reviving literature were seen. Their studies ^ 
had now assumed a scholastic character. To the imagination 
of the zealot, the different conditions of a future state were 
continually present ; and the spiritual objects, which he saw 
with the eyes of faith, were invested with all the reality of mate- 
rial forms, by thé force with which they were presented to his 
view in detailed descriptions, and in dissertations displaying a 
scientific acquaintance with the exact limits of every torment, and 
the graduated rewards of glorification. 

A very singular instance of the manner in which these ideas 
were impressed upon the people, is afforded by the native city of 
Dante, In which the celebration of a festival was graced by a pub- 
lic representation of the infernal tortures ; and it is not unlikely 
that the first circulation of the work of that poet gave occasion 
>lo this frightful exhibition. The bed of the Arno was convert- 
ed into the golf of perdition, where all the horrors, coined by 
the protific fency pf the monks, were concentrated. Nothing 
was wanting to make the illusion complete ; and the spectators 


shuddered at the shrieks and groans of real persons, apparently 
exposed to the alternate extremea of fire and froet, to Wayea of 
boiling pitch and to serpents.* 

It appears, then, that when Dante adopted, as the subject of 
bis immortal poem, the secrets of the invisible world, and the. 
three kingdoms of the dead, he coaid not possibly have selected 
a more popular theme. It had the advantage of combining the 
most profound feelings of religion, with those vivid recollections 
of patriotic glory and party contentions, which were necessarily 
daggested by the re-appearance of the illastrious dead on this 
novel theatre* Sach, in a word, was the magnificence of its 
scheme, that it may justly be considered as the most stibiime con« 
ception of the human intellect. 

At the close of the century, in the year 1300, and In the week 
of Easter, Dante supposes himself to be wandering in the deserts 
near Jerusalem, and to be favoured with the means of access to 
the realm of shadows. He is there met by Virgil, the object of 
his incessant study and admiration, who takes npon himself the 
office of guide, and who, by his own admirable description of the 
heathen hell, seems to have Scqnired a kind of right to reveal the 
mysteries of these forbidden regions. The two bards arrive atn 
gate, on which are inscribed these terrific words :*^ 

'* Througli me yoa pasi into the city of wo ; 
Through me you pass into eternal pain : 
Through me, among the people lost for aye. 
Justice the founder of my faWie mov'd : 
To rear me was the tadc of power diTine, 
Sopremest wisdom, and primeval loTe.t 
Before me things create were none, save things 
JBtemai^ and eternal I endure. 
P AH hope abandon, ye who enter here»'^ 

By the decree id the Most High, die companions aroy how* 
ever, enabled to pass the gates of hell, and to penetrate into the 
dismal scjoiini. 

* This scene occurred at Florence on the Ist May, 1804. 
t The three persons of the blessed Trinity. The English versioas ef tins 
exta^ts from Dante, are taken from Gary's Tanslation. 
X In/emo, canto lii. v; i 

Ter me si va nella Città dolente : 
Ter me si va nelf etemo dolore : 
Ter me si va tra la perduta gente. 
Ginstim mosse '1 mio alto fhttore: 
, Fecemîladîtinapotestate, 

La somma sapienza e 1 primo amore. 
Dinanzi a me Iron fur cose create 
Se non eterne, ed io' etemo duro : 
Lssciate ogni speranza, voi éV entrate. 

f 9â ON THE LlTfiRATims 

^ Hero sighi. nith lameftCitiMur uid loud motoi^ 
fi0i#a»4 dMagk tile air, vieceM by n^etv, 
That e'en I wept at entenng. Yprimu toogaeei 
Horrible langages, outcries of wo, 
Accents of anger, Toicei dee)> and hoane, 
With handi together smote that sweli'd the sonads. 
Made dp a tiniuilt,'tlmt for ever whirie 
Bo«ad thfoagb that anr, wilb solid darfoiese etalnPdy ' 
Like to the sand that in the whtriwind flies.'* 

Notwithstaoding their a£Biction8, these rafferen were not gQcb 
as had been positively wicked,, but such as, if they had lived wiHh* 
oat infamy, bad yet oo claims to virtae* 

'* This miserable fete 

dttftir (be wretched souls oif those, wholivM 

WiChmtt or praise or btome, with that 111 baud 

Of angels mix^d, who nor lebellioas prat'd 
. Nor jet were true to God, bat for themselves 

Were ohiy. t'rom bis bounds Heaven drove them forto, 

HV»t to mpd» his lustre ; AoT the depth 

or ffisli reeeives them, leal th^ aeoaresd trflig 
. Sboukl glory thefiee withosiiltatioii vaisk"* 

s^ « # • # 

*' Fiiiié' df ÛÊiwÈr tto^ weri^ hMk aoaev 
Nor suflfers ; mercy and justice scorn them both. 
Speak not of them, -but look, and pass them bj.*^ 

Leaving this igaoUé Booltttodef the poet» arrive at Àe gjloottiy 
banks of Acheron, where sfre aMteubled, tMa eVe^jfJiart of the 
earth, such as have died in the dlspleasnre of Ood!. Divine jos^ 
tice porsaes their steps, and terror, more powerful Chan desire^ 
harries them on. The reprobele souls ere tmÉspitfd across 
the melancholy waters^ itfllfef beet of Gbardft'; foiTDittle, incfiei^ 
mon with many fathers of the church, under the supposttioii that 
pil^istt; ittthe peveon of its iAfertiaf gods, repraMSiltèd Aë^évil 
iÉ^, made ne ecmple to adopt itt fcbtes; He tbiis'hliànêed'#ltl 
the terrors of the catholic fahh, all the brilliant collMMlg ef tM 
Greelç mythology, and all the force of poeticid association. In 
bitf pictore of the Last Jodgment, Michael Angeto drew from 
Dante his ideas of hell« We there see Charon carrying over tlie 
eendeBBed' souls ; and forgetting that he is introdueedy not as «n 
infernal god, but asthe evil sfiirit of the stream^ it BeiillMi'Ml* 
jected to the painter of the Sestine Chapel, that hé hEU cdlSfbuildbd 
the two religions, when^ in fact, be bias not titesgressed the strict 
faith of the church. 

Tlie poets, proceedinf iiild Hie defKhs of M rsf^ons of dark** 
ness, arrive at the abode of (he yfUé' anfd jttirt oif antiquity, who 
having been neeessariiy predoded, in tbeir lives,, from receiving 

* Jf^cnie, caato iil. t. 93. t Ibid, canto ii|. v. 34, ax. 


(he beoeiits of baptism, are condetnnec!» by Ibe catholic cre^, to 
eternal pains. Tbfeir tears and groans are extorted, not by actual 
torturés, but by their eternal sense of the want of that bliss which 
they are destined never to attain. Their habitation is not unlike 
the shadowy Elysium of^t^e poets, and affords a kind of fainter 
picture of earthly existence, where the place of hope is occupied 
by regret. We may here observe, that M. de Chateaubriand, 
after naving expressed an inclination to exempt virtfous heathens 
from eternal punishment, has since experienced so&ie scruples of 
conscience ; and in the third edition of his Martyrs, has penitently 
Tetracted a sentiment so pure, so benevolent, and so consistent 
with every attribute of a God of inanité goodness. 

After surveying the heroes of antiquity, Dante, in his descent 
into the abyss, next encounters those whom love seduced into 
crime, and who died before they had repented of their sin ; for 
the distinction between Hell and Purgatory does not consist in the 
magnitude of the offence, but in the circumstances of the last mo- 
ments of the offender. The first reprobate shades with which 
Dante meets, are treated with the greatest share of indulgence, 
,and the punishments become more intense, in proportion as he 
penetrates deeper into the bosom of hell. 

Into a place I came 
'IVhere light was silent all. Bellowing, there groanM 
A noise, as of a sea in tempest torn 
By warring winds. The stormy blast of hell 
TVith restless furry drives the spirits on, 
WhirPd round and dash'd amain, with sore annoy.* 

In the midst of this unhappy throng, Dante recognises Fran- 
cesca di Rimini, daughter of Guido da Polenta, one of his pa- 
trons, who became the wife of Lancillotto Malatesti, and being 
detected in an adulterous intrigue with Paolo, her brother-in-law, 
was put to death by her husband. The reputation of this striking 
episode has made it familiar to every language; but the beauty 
and finished harmony of the original remain without a rival : 

" Bard ! willingly 
I would address those two together comingi 
Which seem so light before the wind.** He thus : 
** Note thou, when nearer they to us approach. 
Then, by that love which carries them along, 
Entreat ; and they will come." Sooi^as the wind 
Sway'd them toward us, I thus fk'am'd my speech - 
*' O wearied spirits ! come, and bold discouràe 
With us, if by none else restrained. As doves 
By fond desire invited, on wide wings 
And firm, to their sweet nest returning home. 
Cleave the air, wafted by their will along ; 


* Jnfemo. canto v. v, 2Î5. 

Vor.. 1. 25 


s Thus iMoed, from tbat troop where Dido mnkd, 

Tbej.tlvoiigh the ill air speeding: with ^ach force 

My cry prevail'd, hj strong afiection nig'd. 
" O gracious creature and benign .* who go'st 

Visiting, through this element ohs^ure. 

Us, who the world with bloody ^tain imbru d ; 

If, for a friend, the King of ail we own'd. 

Our pray'r to him should far thy peace arise, . ^ 

Since thou hast pity on our e?il plight. 

of whatsoe'er to hear or to discourse 

It pleases thee, that'wiil we hear, of that 
^ Freely with thee discourse, while e'er the wind, 

I Am now, is mute. The land that gave me birth 

Is situate on the coast, where Po descends 

To rest in ocean with his sequent streams. 
"LoTc, that in gentle heart is quickly learnt, 

Entangled him by that fair foim, from me 

Ta'en in such cruel sort, as grieres me still : 

LoYO, that denial takes from none beloT'd, 

Caught me with pleasing him so passing well, 

That, as thou seest, he yet deserts me not. 

LoTC brought us to one death : Caina waits 

Hie soul, who spilt our life." 

After a pause, Dante exclaims : 

" Alas ! by what sweet thoughts, what fond desire 
Must they at length to that ul pass ha?e reach'd !" 

Then turning, I to them my speech address'd. 
And thus began : " Francesca ! your sad fate 
Even to tears my grief and pity moves. 
But tell me, in the time of your sweet sighs, 
By what, and how Love granted, that ye know 
Your yet uncertain wishes ?" She replied : 
" No greater grief than to remember days 
Of joy, when mis'ry is at hand. That kens 
Thy leamM instructer. Yet so eagerly 
If thou att bent to know the primal root, 
From whence our love gat being, 1 will do 
As one who weeps and tells his tale. One' day. 
For our delight, we read of Lancelot, 
How him love thrall'd. Alone we wercj and no 
Suspicion near us. Oft times by that reading 
Our eyes were drawn together, and the hue 
Fled urom our alter'd cheek. , But at one point 
Aloqe we fell. When of that smile we read. 
The wished smile, so rapturously klss'd 
By one so deep in love, then he, who ne'er 
From me shall separate, at once my lips 
All trembling ITissM. The book and writer both 
Were love's purveyors. In its leaves that day 
We read no more." While thus one spirit spake, 
The other wail'd so sorely, that, heart-struck, i 

I,' through compassion fainting, seem'd not far ! 

From death, and like a corse fell to the ground.* 

'*' Inferno, canto v. v. 73. It has not been thodght necessary, in every in- 
stance, to gire these extracts in the Italian also, when the original is so easy of 



In the third circle of Hell, whose capacious gulf is divided ioto 

serea coocentric circles, Daote finds those who are punished for 

their giattony. Extended upon the fetid mire, these wretches are 

eternally exposed to showers of ice. The poet is recognised by 

one of them, and receives from him tidings of several of hu 

countrymen. The opposite vices of avarice and prodigality suffer 

a common punishment, in the fourth circle ; the inhabitants of 

which attack each other with mutual reproaches. A disgusting 

slough swallows up those who have abandoned themselves to their 

choleric passions ; and the heresiarchs have a place reserved for 

diem, within the precincts of the city of Pluto. A number of 

tombs are scattered over a wide plaiuj partially open, and glowing 

like a heated furnace. From these, over which the coverings 

remain sqsp^ded, the most dreadful shrieks proceed. As he 

,pafises by one of the tombs, Dante is thus saluted by its tenant : 

<< Tuscan ! thou, who through the city of fire 
âUtc art passing, so discreet of speech ; 
Here, please thee, stay awhile. Thy utterance 
Declares the place of thy nativity 
To be that noble land, with which, perchance, 
I too severely dealt. *"" 

The person who thus addresses him from the midst of the 
flames, proves to be Farioatade' Uberti, the chief of the Ghibetine 
faction at Florence, who triumphed over the Guelphs at the batUe 
of Arbia, and saved his country, which the Ghibelines were about 
to sacrifice, to secure their own safety. Farinata was one of 
those great characters, of which antiquity, or the middle ages. 

access. A portion, however, of this exquisite passage, the reader will, it is 
hoped, excuse us for here inserting : 

Si tosto coBM P vento a noi gli piega, 

Muovo la voce r O anime amnnate ! 

Yenite a noi parhur, s' altri nol niega. 
j^uali colombe dal disio chiamate, ' 

Coll* ali absate t ferme, al dolce nido 

VengoB per acre, da voler portate; 
Cotaii uscir deUa schiera ov' è Dido, 

A noi venendo per 1' aei^ maligrto ; 

Si forte fu i* affettuoso ^do. 
O animal graaioso e benigno, 

Che visitando vai per 1' acre perso 

Noi, cbe tignemmo 1 mondo di sanguigno, 
Se iosKe amic6 il Re deir unlverso, 

Npi i^regheremmo iuipéria iuâpftcç, 

Da di* hai pietà del nostro mal perverso. 
|>i quel ch' udire e che parlar ti piace, 

Noi udiremo, e parleremo a voi. 

Mentre che 1' aura, come fô, si tace. 

♦ InfimOf caqto Xf v. Ô3. 


aloDCy afford as any example. Controlling, with the hand of a 
master, the course of erents, as well as the minds of men, destiny 
itself seems to snbmit to his will, and the Tery torments of hell 
are jnsofficient to disturb the haaghty tranquillity of his spirit. 
He is admirably portrayed in the conversation which Dante has 
assigned to him. Every passion is concentrated in his attachm^it 
to his country and his party ; and the exile of the Ghibelines in- 
flicts npon him hr greater torments than the burning couch upon 
which he ts reposing. 

On descending into the seventh circle, Dante perceives a vast 
pool of blood, into which tyrants and homicides are plunged. 
Centaurs, armed with darts, traverse its margin, and compel the 
wretches, who raise their heads above the surface, to hide them 
again in the bloody stream. Proceeding farther, he finds those 
tHio have committed suicide, suffering transformation into the 
shape of trees, and retaining nothing of their human character but 
the power of speech, and the sense of paio.* As a punishment 
for having once turned their hands against themselves, they are 
deprived of all capacity of action. On a plain of scorching sand, 
and exposed to showers of fire, the poet finds a company of 
shades, whose disgraceful vices had incurred this penalty ; bat 
who, in many respects, were entitled to his affection and respect. 
Among these, he distinguishes Brunetto Latino, his instnicter in 
eloquence and poetry ; Guido Guerra, Jacopo Rusticucci, and 
Tegghiaio Aldobrandi, the most virtuous and disinterested repub- 
licans of Florence, in the preceding century. Dante observes : 

If from the fire 
I had been sheltered, down amidst them straight 
I then had cast me ; nor my guide, I deem. 
Would hare restrained my going ; but that fear 
Of the dire burning ranquishM the desire, 
Whieh made me eager of their wish'd embrace. 

I then began : 

" I am a countryman of yours, who still 
Âfièctionate have utter'd, and have heard 
Your deeds and names renowned."* 

He proceeds to give them some intelligence of the affairs of 
Florence, in whose prosperity these victims of eternal torture slill 
continue to take the deepest interest. 

It is not our design to follow the steps of the poet from circle 
to circle, from gulf to '* lower gulf." To render the description 
^f these terrible scenes at all supportable, we must call to our 
aid the magical powers of style and of verse ; that vehement and 
picturesque genius, which places distinctly before our eyes the 
new world, summoned into being at the will of the poet. Abore 
all, we cannot dispense with that interest in the personages intro- 

* Inferno, canto xvi. v. 47, 


duced opoQ the scene, of which Dante availed himself, when, in 
anticipation of the Divine jadgments, he described individoals well 
known to his fellow-citizens by their vices, and by the recent con- 
sequences of their crimes, as inhabiting the various mansions of 
hell, recognising the Florentine bard, and losing, for a moment, the 
sense of their own agonies, in the remembrance of their country 
and their friends. 

As this great work does not possess any regular action, and de- 
rives no support from the enthusiasm of human passion, it is im* 
possible to take any lively interest in the hero of the slory ; if, 
indeed, Dante is not to be considered rather as the mere specta- 
tor of the pictures conjured op by his imas^mation. than as the 
hero of his own tale. It cannot, however, he said that the poem 
is altogether divested of dramatic interest. Unassisted and alone, 
we see Dante advance into the midst of demons and condemned 
souls. Th(^ Divine will has, it is true, opened to him the çatea of 
Hell ; and Virgil, who bears the mandate of omnip'>tenoe, attends 
his steps. But the demons are not the less active in opposing, 
with their utmost malignity , the superior decrf*es of fate. At one 
time, they violently r.lose the gates of Hell upon him ; at another, 
they rush towards him, with the. design of tearing him in pieces. 
They deceive him with false infomiHiion, mhï eninavour to lead 
him astray in the infernal labyrinth. We are s>iifhciently abf>orb- 
ed in his narrative, to feel intei-e»teti in the dangers to which he 
is perpetually exposed ; and the truth of his descriptions, adHed 
to the deep horror inspired by the objects which he depict**, sel- 
dom fails to make a strong and paintul impression on the mind. 
Thus, in the twenty-fidh canto, we shudder at the tortures, which 
he supposes to be inflicted upon, robbers. .These miserable of- 
fenders inhabit a valley, tilled with horrible serpents. Before 
the very face of Dante one of these monsters springs upon Ag- 
nolo Brunelleschi, envelopes him in its folds, and pours its 
poisonous foam over hi» features. The two bodies soon appear 
to blend into one ; the distinction of colours disappears ; the 
limbs undergo a gradual chanj^e ; and when they are disengaged, 
-Brunelleschi is transformed into a snake, and Cianfa, who had at- 
tacked him, recovers the human shape. Immediately after, 
Bqoso de' Abbati is' wounded by another serpent, which' relin- 
quishes its hold, and stretches itself out at his feet. Buoso fixes 
his eyes upon it, but cannot utter a word. He staggers and gasps» 
as if overpowered by lethargy or fe^er. The eyes of the man 
and of the reptile 'are steadfastly fixed on each other. From the 
wound of the former and the mouth of the latter, thick volumes 
of smoke' proceed, and as soon as these unite, the nature of the 
two beings is changed. Arms are seen to issue from the body of 
the serpent, witile the limbs of the man contract and disappear 
under the scaly figure of his adversary. While one erects him- 
^If, the ^ther grovels upon the earth ; and Che two accursed 


soalsy who bare iotercbaDged tbeir panishmeots, separate with 
matuiil execrations. 

Tbe general conception of tbis unknown world, wbich Dante 
has revealed to our ejes, is, considered in itself, full of grandeur 
and sublimity. Tbe existence of the three kingdoms of the dead, 
in which tbe sufferings, at least, were all of a pb^fsical nature, and 
to which the language of Scripture and of the fathers was always 
literally applied, was a point of faith which, at the time wImu the 
p^t flourished, admitted of no dispute. Tbe creed of tbe church 
had not, boHever, fixed, with exact precision, the different abodes 
o^ departed spirits, and it was xiifficult to form an idea of the se- 
paration as well as of tbe degree of rewards and punishments. 
Tne future state described by the poet^ of antiquity is confused, 
and almost incomprehensible. That of Dante, on the contrary, 
strikes tbe imagination by the order, regularity, and grandeur with 
which it is depicted. It is impossible, when once impressed with 
a» conceptions, to figure bis scenes to our fancy in any other 
form. A horrible abyss occupies the interior of our earth. The 
declivity is not uniform, but broken, as it were, into steps, and 
terminates in the centre of tbe globe. This is the kingly station 
of Lucifer^.tbe despotic ruler of these realms of pain, who waves 
his six gigantic wings over a frozen ocean, in which he is half 
submerged, and is at once thç servant and the victim of Almighty 
vengeance. Like him, the other spirits of darkness who espoused 
bis cause, are incessaiilly employed in exercising tbeir dia- 
bolical malignity on tbe reprobate souls, whose agonies they 
inflict and partake. From the centre of the earth, a long cavern 
•reconducts tbe poet to tbe light of day. It opens at tbe base of 
a mountain, situated on tbe opposite hemisphere. In figure, this 
mountain is tbe exact reverse of tbe infernal regions. It forms 
an immense cone, divided into distinct departments, in which are 
distributed those souls who are unden^oin^ tbe judgments of pur- 
gatory. Its avenues are guarded by angejs ; and whenever they 
permit a purified soul to ascend into heaven, the whole mountain 
rings with the joyous thanksgivings of its remaining inhabitants. 
On its summit is situated the terrestrial Paradise, wbich forms the 
.•comiBunirating link between heaven and earth. The celestial 
regions constitute tbe third portion of tbis universe, ascending in 
«spiral rings, from sphere to sphere, to tbe throne of Almighty 
power. Tbe same unity of design is thus visible in the concep- 
tion of the dii erent worldsi; upon which the genius of Dante has 
conferred a diversified symmetry, combining, at once, perfect 
consistency with perpetual novelty, and approaching to that wbich 
characterizes the works of the creation. 

Tbe Divine Comedy is divided into a hundred canto», each 
^containing from one hundred and thirty to one bmidred and forty 
verses. The first canto is intended as a kind of introduction to 
the whole work. Thirty-three cantos are then devoted to each 
of tbe three topics of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. Proceeding 


t^ith our rapid sketch, we shall not at present particularize the 
terrific punishments which the poet contemplates in the ocean of 
ice, swept by the wings of Lucifer. Dante issues from the abyss 
by placing himself upon the body of the fiend, and at the same 
time revolving round the centre of the earth, towards which all 
matter gravitates. His position is then changed, and he ascends 
by the path which appeared to him to be a declivity. Emerging 
to the light of day in the opposite hemisphere, he discovers a 
vast ocean, in the midst of which is placed the steep mountain to 
which we have already alluded. After purifying himself from 
the infernal stains, Dante proceeds to attempt the spiral ascent, 
under the guidance of Tirgil, who never forsakes his side. As 
he passes along, he sees the souls of the elect chastened by long 
and severe sufferings. But in the midst of their agonies, they 
are filled with holy raptures, having exchanged faith for certainty, 
and having always before their eyes those h«>avenly rewardis, 
which they are destined at last to attain. The angeU who guard 
the various districts of the mountain, or who visit it, in their 
robes of light, as messengers of the Supreme will, continually re- 
mind the sufferers that their temporary chastisement will be suc- 
ceeded by the joys and the splendours of paradise. 

In this portion of the work, however, the interest is not equally 
supported. All apprehension of danger to the person of the 
hero is at an end. He walks in safety with the guardian angels 
of the place. There is little novelty in the punishments ; and, 
such as they are, they do not strike the imagination, after those 
which we have already witnessed. Our sympathy, tbo, for the per- 
sons introduced to our notice, begins to languish. Their present 
state of existence is rendered indifferent to them by the vivacity 
of their hopes ; their recollections of the past are absorbed in 
the future ; and, experiencing no vehement emotions themselves,' 
they have little power to excite them in us. Nor did this defect 
escape the observation of the poet. He endeavours to repair it, 
by entering into philosophical and theological discussions, and by 
detailing all the learning of the schools on the most subtle ques- 
tions of metaphysics. But his style of argument, which was 
respected as profound at the period when he wrote, produces a 
very different effect upon minds which do not allow the authority 
of the doctors to supersede that of reason. These disquisitions, 
'moreover, are always at variance witb true poetry, and weary 
the reader, by interrupting the progress of the ^cti^ 

Some interest is, however, occasionally excited by those whom 
liante here encounters. Thus, on his first entrance into Purga- 
tory, we are affected by the tender friendship of the musician, 
Casella, who endeavours to throw himself mto the poet*s arms: 
A striking incident occurs, also, in the third canto, where he is ac- 
costed by Manfred, the natural son of Frederick, and the greatest 
prince who has filled the throne of the Two Sicilies. He enjoins 
Dante to seek his daughter Constance, wife of Peter the Third of 


AragoD, and mother of- Frederick, tbe avenger of the Sicilians, 
for the purpose of sntisfyjog her as to his doom, and dissipating 
the painful doubts which the Pope and the priesthood had excited. 
Not contented with persecuting him during his life, with defaming 
his character, and precipitating him from his throne, they took 
upon themselves to pronounce the sentence of his eternal damna- 
tion. His body was torn from the grave, and exposed on the 
banks of a river, as that of a rebellious and excommunicated son 
of the Church. Yet the Divinity, whose mercy is not as the 
mercy of man, had accepted him, pardoned him, and given him 
promise of an eternity of bliss ; neither the maledictions df the 
priests, nor the imposing forms of eicommunication, possessing 
power (0 deprive sinners of the benefits of infinite love. It was 
thus that this singular poem might be said to convey tidings from 
parents to their children/ and to afford grounds for hope, by 
giving, as it were, an authentic description of the state of the soul 
after dissolution. 

In his ^ixfh canto Dante introduces us to the spirit of Sordello, 
the Troubadour of Mantua, of whom we have spoken in the fourth 
chapter. We behol<1 him sohtary, haughty, and contemptuous. 
He is recognised by Virgil, and the conference which ensues be- 
tween them gives occasion to a fine invective against Italy, one of 
the most elegant passages in the Purgatory. To enter, however, 
fully into the feelings of the poet, we must bear in mind the poli- 
tical storms by which Italy was, at that time, devastated ; the long 
anarchy of the Empire, which, in the middle of the thirteenth cen- 
tury» had broken all the bonds by which its component states had 
before been united ; the ambition of the Popes, who were only 
eager to aggrandize themselves at the expense of the ancient 
temporal sovereigns of the state ; and the turbulent passions of 
the citizens, who continually sacrificed the liberty of their coun- 
try to the indulgence of their private revenge. To all these 
sources of indignation, we must add the personal situation of Dante, 
then exiled from Florence by the triumphant faction of his 
enemies, and compelled to fly for succour to the Emperors, who 
were then heginning to re-establish their authority in Germany, 
but were unable to direct their attention, in any considerable de- 
.gree, to the affairs of Italy. The poet thus fervently apostrophi- 
zes his country : 

Ah, slayish Italy! thou inn of grief! 
Vessel, without a pilot, in loud storm ! 
Lady no longer of fair provinces, 
But brothel-house impure ! this gentle spirit, 
£v'n from tht pleasant sound of his dear land, 
Was prompted to greet a <elIow-citizen 
With such glad cheer : while now thy living ones 
In thee abide not without war ; and one 
Malicious gnaws another ; ay ! of those 
Whom the same wall and the same moat contains. 
Seek, wretched one ! around thy sea-coasts wide ^ 

UP THE ITALlAl^â. 201 

Then homeward to tby bosom turn ; and mark, 

If any pi|rt oftbee sweet peace eigoy. 

What boots it, that thy reins Justinian's band 

Refitted, if tby saddle be nnpress'd ? 

Naught doth be now but aggravate thy sbame.— 

German Albert ! who abandon'st her 
That is grown savage and unmanageable, 

When thou sbould'st clasp her flanks with forked heels, 
Just judgment from the stars fall on thy blood ; 
And be it strange and manifest to all ; • 
Such as may strike thy successor with dread ; 
For that thy sire and thou have suff'er'd thus. 
Through greediness of yonder realms detain'd, 
The garden of the empire to run waste.* 

After having rebuked the Emperor for permitting the discord 
of the Ghibeline chiefs, the oppression of his noble partizans, and 
the desolation of Rome, he appeals to Providence against the uni- 
versal confusion j which seems to contradict the scheme 'of its be- 
nevolence. He concludes with an address, conceived in a spirit of 
the bitterest irony, to his native country, in which he reproaches 
her with her ambition, with that inconstant temper which induces 
her to make perpetual alterations in her laws, her coinage, and 
her civil offices, and if ith the ostentatious and affected display of 
those virtues which she has long ceased to practise. 

In the twentieth canto, and in the fiAh circle of Purgatory, 

where the sin of avarice b expiated, Dante meets with Hugh C^- 

pet, father of the king of that name ; and in the conversation which 

takes place between them, the hatred which the poet entertains 

for the kings of France, who had extended their protection to bis 

oppressors, and occasioned the downfall of his faction, is suf&- 

ciently manifest. 

** I was root 
Of that ill pfttnt, whose shade such poison sheds 
0*er aU the Christian land, that seldom thence 
Gro«d fruit is gather'd. Vengeance soon should come, 
rîad Ghent and Douay, Lille and Bruges power; 
And Tengeance 1 of heav'n's great Judge implore. 
Hugh Capet was I bight : from me descend 
The Philips and thé Louis, of whom France 
Newly is govern'd ; born of one, who ply*d 
The slaughterei^s trade at Paris. When the race 
Of ancient kings had vanish 'd (all save one 
Wrapt up in sable weeds) within my gripe 

1 found the reigns of empire, and such powers 
Of new acquirement, with full store of friends, 
That soon the widowM circlet of the crown 

Was girt upon the temples of ray son, • 

He, from whose bones th' anointed race begins. 

Till the great dower of Provence had removM ^ 

The stains that yet obscurM our lowly blood, 

1(9 sway indeed was narrow ; but however 

It wrought no ctU : there, with force and lies, 

_ J ' ' 

♦ PurgaL canto vi. v. 76, 
Vol. I. ^ 


202 ON TUB LltBBÂtV&ï^ 

Began its rapine : after, for amends, 

PoiUm it seizM, Navarre and Gascony. 

,To Italy came Ciiarles ; and for amends. 

Young Conradine, an innocent victtm, slew ; 

And sent th' angelic teaclier Irnck to heaven. 

Still for amends. I see the time at hand. 

That forth from France invites another Charles 

To make himself and kindred better known. 

TJnarm'd he issues, saving with that lance, 

Which the archoraitor tilted with ; and that 

He carries with so home a thrust, as rives 

The bowels of poor Florence. No increase 

Of territory hence, but sin and shame 

Shall be his guerdon ; and so much the more^ 

As he more lightly deems of such foul wrong. 

I see the other, (who a prisoner late 

Had stept on ^hore,) exposing to the mart 

His daughter, whom he bargains for, as do 

The Corsairs for their slaves. O avarice ! 

What canst thou more, if ho bath subdued our blood 

So wholly to thyself, they feel no care 

Of their own flesh ? to hide with direr guilt 

Past ill and future, lo ! the flower-de-luce 

Enters Alagna ; in his Vicar, Christ 

Himself a captive, and bis mockery 

Acted again. Lo ! to his holy lip 

The vinegar and gall once more applied ; 

And he 'twizt living robbers doomed to bleed."* 

The Pargatory of Dante is, in some respects, a feinter picture 
of the infernal regions. The same crimes arc there corrected by 
pimishments of a similar nature, but limited in their duration, io" 
asmuch as the sinner ga?e proofs of penitence previous to his death. 
Dante has, however, introduced much less variety into the of- 
fences and the penal inflictions. Afler remaining a considerable 
time with those souls which linger at the outeide of Purgatory, as 
a punishment for having deferred, in their li feting, the period of 
their conversion, he proceeds in regular order through the seven 
mortal sins. The proud are overwhelnied with enormous weights ; 
the envious are clothed in garments of horsehair, and their eyelids 
are closed with an iron thread ; clouds of smoke suffocate the 
choleric ; the indolent are compelled to run without ceasing ; 
the avaricious are prostrated ~with their faces on the earth ; the 
cravings of hunger and thirst afflict the epiciH*e ; and those who 
have given themselves up to incontinence, expiate their crim^ in 
fire. It will appear, from this slight sketch, that the scene of the 
Purgatory is more contracted, and its action more tardy ; and as 
•Dante determined to make the Purgatory equal in length to the 
two other divisions of his work, the execution is perhaps neces- 
sarily languid. We find the cantos overloaded with visions and 
reveries, fatiguing to the reader, who looks forward with impa- 
tience to the termination of this mysterious excursion. 

i^g«<-t.M—OP*.i i<i.. ' mtummm»» 

* Pnirzut. canto xx. v. 4^. 

■*.»■■■ ■ *JMhw^ m^ y» 

9V THE ITALIAlf$$. 203 

After having travened the seven circles of Pargatorj» Dante, 
in bis twenty*eighth canto, reaches the terrestrial Paradise, situ- 
ated on the sQtntnit of the mountain. His description of this place 
is fall of heanty, and all that can be objected to it is, that he hat 
too frequently digressed into scholastic dissertations. In this 
earthly Paradise, Beatrice, the object of his earliest affection, 
descends from heaven to meet him. She appears as the minister 
of grace, and the organ of divine wisdom ; and the passion whîéh 
be entertains for her, eiists only in the noblest sentiments and in 
the most elevated feelings. It is only as a manifestation of the 
^ goodness of God, that she presents herself to his thooghts, after 
her translation to the skies. In this view, she occupies the first 
place in his poem. From her, Virgil received his orders to es- 
cort the bard on his journey ; by her influence the gates of Hell 
were opened before him ; her care r(>moved every obstacle 
which opposed his progress ; and her mandates are implicitly 
obeyed, throughout the three kingdoms of the dead. Such is the 
glory with which her lover surrounds her, that we are sometimes 
incliued to suspect that she is merely an a^egorical character, and 
that the individual object of his affections is lost in a personifica- 
tion of theology. Whilst she is advancing towards him, and 
whilst, even before he has recognised her, he already trembles 
tn her presence, from the power of his first love, Virgil, who 
had hitherto accompanied him, disappears. Beatrice reproves the 
^ early errors of the poet, and attempts to purify his heart ; but her 
discourse is, perhaps, not altogether equal to the situation. As 
Dante approaches nearer to Heaven, he aims at something beyond 
the ordinary l.inguage of the world ; and in this attempt, he fre- 
quently becomes so obscure, that it is difficult to detect the beau- 
ties which still remain. To give us an idea of the language of 
Heaven, he borrows that of tbe church ; and he intersperses 
such a number of Latin verses and hymns in bis poetry, that the 
difference between the prosody, sound, and turn of expression of 
the two languages, arrests, at every moment, tbe attention, of the 

In ascending into Heaven, Dante no longer nvails himsetf of 
human machinery or human power ; and he is, therefore, trans- 
ported thitber by fixing his eyes steadfastly on the sun, and by the 
mere vehemence of bis spiritual aspiration?^ It is here difficult 
to understand him; and whilst we are endeavouring to discover 
the meaning of his enigmatical words, we cease to sympaJthi?^ 
with his feelings and to accompany him on his way. In bis àc- 
count of the infernal world, there is nothing supernatural, «vbich 
is not in strict accordance with our own nature. He only exagT 
gérâtes those forces and those evils of which we bav« real expe- 
rience. When he issues from Pulsatory and enters into Heaven, 
he presents us, on the contrary, with supernatural appearances 
jlike those pf our wildest dreamt He topposes the existence of 


facalties, ,with which we have do acquaintance. He neither 
awakens our associations, nor revives our hahitB. We never 
thoroughly understand him ; and the perpetual state oi astonish- 
ment in which we are placed, tends only to fatigue us. 

The first ahode of the blessed, is the heaven of the Moon, 
which revolves with the most tardy motion, and at the greatest 
distance from the glory of the Most High. Here inhabit the souls 
of such as, after having pronounced the vows of celibacy and re- 
ligious seclusion, have been compelled to renounce them. But, 
. although Dante distcibutes the beatified souls into distinct classes, 
their bliss, which is entirely of a contemplative nature, seems not 
to be susceptible of such a division. He represents one of these 
spirits as thus ejcpressing herself : — 

«Brother! our trill 
Is, in composure, settled by the power 
Of charity, who makes us will alone 
What we possess, aud naught beyond desire ; 
If we should wish to be exalted more, 
Then must «ir wishes jar with the high will 
Of him, who sets us here."'* 

This may be very true ; but the state of indifference, in which 
these souls exist, throws an air of coldness on the reipaipder of 
the po6m ; the interest of which is still farther impaired by fre- 
quent theological disquisitions. All the ()onbts of Dante, on the 
union of the body and the soul, on the nature of vows, on free 
will, and on other intricate points, are readily solved by Beatrice ; 
but it is not so easy to satisfy the minds of his readers on these 
obscure topics. The most philosophical prose is not always suc- 
cessful on these subjects ; and we cannot, therefore, be surprised, 
if the poetical form of Dante's arguments, and the authority of 
Beatrice, to whose divine mission we are not always disposed to 
give implicit faith, throw still greater obscurity over questions, 
which are beyond all human comprehension. 

We find very few descriptions in the Paradise of Dante. The 
gre^t artist, whose sketches of the infernal realms possess such 
appalling sublimity, has not attempted to delineate the scenery of 
thé skies. We leave the heaven of the Moon, with a very im- 
perfect knowledge of its nature ; and our visit to that of Mercury is 
no less unsatisfactory. In each successive kingdom, however» 
the poet excites our curiosity, by assigning a prominent station tq 
stme character of distinguished celebrity. In the sixth canto, and 
m tb^ Sjecoqd heaven, he is accosted by the Emperor Justinian^ 
who is represented in a light as favourable as that in which the 
Civilians y^ye already delighted to view the great father of their 

* Patftd. eanto iii. ▼• 70. 


Science, and verj different from that id which he is exhibited, with 
all his frailties tfûd his Tices, io the Secret History of Procopios» 
Id the third hearen, which is that of the planet Venn», Dante 
meets with Cnoissa, the sister of Azzolino da Romano^ who 
forewarns him of the revolntions of the Marca Trivigiana. Saint 
Thomas Aquinas and Saint Bonaventara are found in the fourth 
heaven, which is placed in the Son ; and they narrate the'glorified 
actions of Saint Dominick and Saint Francis. The souls of those 
who have combatted for the true faith, are rewarded in the heaven 
of Mars. Among these, he observes his ancestor Gacciaguida de' 
Elisei, who perished in the crusades ; and from whom he receiTes 
an account of the early greatness of bis own family. Gacciaguida 
proceeds to describe the ancient severity of manners maintained 
in Florence, in the time of Conrad the Third, and gives a cata- 
logue, with a few characteristic remarks, of the noble houses 
which then flourished ; of those which had, in later times, /alien 
into decay, and of those which had more recently risen to dis* 
tinction. He then predicts to Dante his approaching exile : 

" Thou shah leave eaeh thing 
Belov'd most dearly .- this is the first shsXt 
Shot from the bow of exile. Thou shalt proTe 
How salt the saTour is of others' bread ; 
How hard the passage to descend and climb 
By others' stairs. But that shall gall thee most, 
Will be the worthless and vile company, 
With whom thou must be thrown into these straits."* 

Gacciaguida then encourages Dante to disclose to the world all 
that he has witnessed in the realm of shadows, and to elevate his 
mind above the unworthy apprehension^of giving offence to those, 
who might deem themselves disgraced by his narrations. 

The sixth heaven is that of Jupiter, in which those, who have 
administered justice with impartiality, receii^e their reward. The 
Beventh is in Saturn, and contains such as devoted themselves to 
a life of contemplation or seclusion. In the eighth heaven, Dante 
beholds the triumph of Gbrist, which is attended by a host of. 
beatified souls and by the Virgin Mary herself. He is then ex- 
amined by Saint Peter in point of faith, by Saint James in hope, 
and by Saint John in charity, from all of whom he obtains ho- 
nourable testimonials of their approbation. Adam, also, here in- 
forms him what language was spoken in the terrestrial Paradise. 

The poet then ascends into the ninth sphere, where he is fa- 
voured with a manifestation'of the Divine Essence, which is, how- 
ever, veiled^ by three hierarchies of surrounding angels The 
Virgin Mary, and the Saints of the Old and New Testament, are 
also visible to him in the tenth heaven. All his doubts are finally 
resolved by the saints or by the Deity himself; and this great 

* Fwrod. canto ztH. ▼• 55. 


Work concloiies wiA a contemplation of tbe union of the two 
natures in the Divine Being. 

The measure in i%hinh this poem is written, and of which Dante 
was, in all probability, the orii^inal inyentof, ha6 rêceilrptl the 
name of lerara rtma. It has siocp been especially appropriated 
to philosophical poetry, to s:)tire9, and to epistolary and allego- 
rical compositions. But it is Hpplicahle, wtth no le^s success, to 
epic poetry. The poi^ition of the recurring rhyme» keeps the at- 
tention alive, and admits of a regular ûov\ of the narrHtiVe ; an ad- 
vantage, to which the oitava riiiw, or stanza of the later ftdian 
writers, and even \he quatrains ot French poetry, cannot lay claim. 
The Ufrza rima con^^i^ts of three verses, disposed in such a man- 
ner, that the middle line of each couplet rhymes with the first and 
third verses of the succeeding From the way in which tbe Iraes 
are thus perpetually interwoven, the memory derives very mate- 
rial att>istance. Whatever couplet we may select from the poem, 
will afford us, by tWo of it<« rhymes, a clue to the preceding pas- 
sage, and by one of them, to the following couplet. The verses, 
thus interlinked, are all endecasyllables, which are exclusively 
used in the epic p<>etry of Italy ; and they are divided, or sup- 
posed so to be, into five iambics, of which the last is followed by 
a short syllable. 

As a specimen of the terza rima, I have attempted to translate 
into French verse thé celebrated Episode of Ugolino, from the 
thirty-third canto of the Inferno, In this, I have found very great 
difficulty. The French lang;uage, compared with tbe Italian, is 
very poor in rhymes, which are not easily found for three verses, 
placed at a regular and invariable distance. The rule which 
compels the French writer not to employ two feminine rhymes 
in succession, and which is not observed in Italian composition, 
presents an additional obstacle. It may, perhaps, also be said, 
that the French language his a natural tendency, in its versifica- 
tion, to the use of the couplet, and that a continued union of rhyme* 
is as repugnant tor its genius as the running of one line into an- 
other. If not ab?<olutely insurmountable, the constraint imposed 
by these various difficulties, is, at least, such, as almost to de* 
gtroy the magnificent spirit of thecelebrateci passage in question. 
|n the last circle of the infernal world, Dante beholds those who 
have betrayed their nittive land, entombed in everlasting ice. 
Two heads, not far distant from each other, raised themselves 
^above the frozen surface. One of these is that of Count Ugolino 
della Gherardesca, who, by a series of treasons, had made himself 
absolute master of Pisa. The other head is that of Riiggieri de' 
Ubaldini, archbi«hop of that state, who, by means not less criminal, 
had effected tbe ruin of the count, and having seized him» with 
his four children, or grandchildren, had let) them to perish, by 
iamine, in prison. Dante does not at first recognise them, and 
shudders when he sees Ugolino gnawing the skuti of his murderer, 
which lies before him. He inquires into the motive of this 



i;e enmity, and with the ciNiiil's reply the thirty-third cant» 


His mouUi upraising from his hideous feast, 
' And brushing, with bi« victim's locks, the spray 
Of gore from his foul lips, thai sinner e«as*d : 

Then thus: " WiU'st thou that 1 renew the sway 
Of hopeless grief, which weighs upon mjr heart 
In thought, ere yet my tongue that thought betray V 

But, should my words prove seeds from which may start 
Ripe fruits of scojrn fQr him, whose traitor head 
I gnaw, then words and tears, at oncet shall part. 

I know thee not ; nor by what fortune led 
Thou wanderest here ; but thou, ifitw the claim 
Of native speech, wert in fair Floreoee bra4* 

Know, then, Count Ugolioo is my name, 
And this the Pisan prelate at my side, 
Ruggier — Hear, now, my cause of grief— -his ehame. « 

That by bis arts he won me to confide 
In his smooth words, that I was bound in ehaias « 
Small need is, now, to tell, nor that I died. 

*Ir^emOf Canto xxziii. ?. i. [As the object of M. Sismondi is to show the 
peculiarities of the trrxa rima, and to try bow far its adoption is practicable in' 
French versification, it has been thought expedient to present the reader with 
his version below ; the perusal of which will prnb&hly convince him, that the 
objections stated by that gentleman are not overcharged. Without detracting 
from the spirit and ingenuity which he has executed his laburieus task, it is 
not too much to say, that the admirer of the unequalled original will turn with 
pleasure, heightened by the contrast, to the excellent translation of this episode 
by Mr. Cary. 

Disclaimmg any intention of entering into competition with either of these 
versions, the Editor has ven<ured to attempt an original translation, in which 
be has preserved, in the English, the form of the Italian terzarima, and has 
adhered as literally as possible, and line for line, to the original. This species 
of verse is certainly difficult in our own language, to which, however, it is 
much more congenial than to the French. It has been employed with consi- 
derable success by Lord Byron, in bis Prophecy of Dante, where the reader 
«ill be enabled fully to estimate all that it is capable of effecting in our Ian" 
gQage. TV.] 

Ce pécheur, soulevant une bouche altérée, 
Essuya le sang noir dont il était trempé, 
A la tète de mort qu*il avait dévorée. 

Si je doisranconter le sort qui m'a frappé. 
Une horrible douleur occupe ma pensée, 
Dit- il, mais ton espoir ne sera point trompé» 

QuHinporte ma douleur, si ma langue glacée, 
Bu traître que tu vois comble le dés^nneur. 
Ma langue se ranime, à sa honte empressée. 

Je ne te connais point, jr ne sais quel bonhemr 
Te conduit tout vivant jusqu'au fond de l'abîma ; 
N'es-to pas Florentin ? vois, et frémi» d'horreur! 

Mon nom e^t Ugotin, Rager est ma victime ; 
Dieu livre ^ met fureurs le prélat des Fisans ; 
Sans doute tu connais et mon .sort et son crime : 

Je mourus parson ordre avec tous mes enfans j 
Déjà la renommée aura pu t'en instruire ; 
Mai» elle n'a point dit quels furent mes tourmens^ 


But what is yet untold, unheard, remains, 
And thou shalt hear it— by what fearful fate 
I perish'd. Judge, if he detenres his pains. 

When, in those dungeon wails emmewM, whose gate 
Shall close on future Tietims, called the Tower 
Of Famine, firom my pangs, the narrow grate 

Had shown me seTeral moons, in evil hour 
I slept and dream'd, and our impending grief. 
Was all uaveilM by that dread Tision's power. 

This wreteh, methought, I saw, as lord and chief, 
Hunting the wolf and cobs, upon that hill 
Which makes the Pisan's view towards Lucca brief. 

With high-bred hounds, and lean, and keen to kill, 
Gualandi, with Sismondi, in the race 
Of death, were foremost, with Lanfranehi, still. 

Weary and spent appear'd, after short chace, 
The sire and sons, and soon, it seem'd, were rent 
With sharpest fangs, their sides. Before the trace 
« Of dawn, I woke, and heard my sons lament, 

(For they were with me,) mourning in their sleep» 
And craving bread. Bight cruel b thy bent, 

If, hearing this, no horror o*er thee creep ; 
If, guessing what I now began to dread, 
Thou wee^st not, wherefore art thou wont to weep ? 

Now were tbey all awake. The hour, when bread 
Was wont to be bestowM, had now drawn near« 
And dismal doubts, in each, his dream had bred. 

Ecoute, et tu Terras si Roger sut me nuire.' 
Dans la tour de la Faim, où je fus enfermé. 
Ou maint infortuné doit encor se détruire. 

Le flambeau de la nuit plusieurs fois rallumé, 
M'avait de plusieurs mois fait mesurer l'espace, 
Quand d'un songe cruel mon cœur fut alarmé. 

Vieux tyran des forêts, on me force à la chasse ; 

Cet homme, avec Gualande et Sismonde, et Lanfranc, 
Changés en chiens cruels, se pressaient sur ma trace, 

Je foyais vers les monts Tennemi de mon sang ; 
Mes jeunes louvetauz ne pouvaient plus me suivre, 
Et ces chiens dévorans leur déchiraient le flaiic. 

De ce songe un réveil plus affreux me délivre ; 
Mes fils dans leur sommeil me demandaient du pain, 
Un noir pressentiment paraissait les poursuivre. 
, Et toi, si, prévoyant mon funeste destin. 
Tu t'abstiens^ étranger, de répandre des larmes, 
Aurats-tu dans ton cœur quelque chose d^faumain ? 

Mes fils ne dormaient plus ; mais de sombres alarmes 
Avaient glacé leurs sens ; le geôlier attendu 
N'apportait point ce pain que noMs trempions de larmes. 

Tout à coup des verroux le bruit est entendu, 
Notre fatale tour est pour jamais fermée : 
Je regarde mes fils, et demeure éperdu. 

Sur mes lèvres la voix meurt a demi formée ; " . 
Je ne pouvais pleurer : ils pleuraient, mes enfans î' 
Quelle haine par eux n'eût été désarmée 7 

Anselme, me serrant dans ses bras caressans. 
S'écriait : que crains-tu, qo'as-tu donc, ô mon, père ! 



Then lock'U, below, the portals did we hear « 
or that most horrible Tower. I fix'd my eye, 
Without one word, upon my children dear : 
Harden'd like rock within, I heav'd no sigh. 
They wept ; and then I heard my Anselm tay, 
' Tboa look*8t so, Sire ! what aUa thee V No reply 
I utter'd yet, nor wept I, all that day, ^ 
Nor the succeeding night, till on the gloom 
Another sun had issued- When his ray 
Had scantily illum*d our prison-room, 
And in four haggard risages I saw 
Mj own shrunk aspect, and our common doom, 
Both hands, for very anguish, did I gnaw. 
They, thinking that I tore them through desire 
Of food, rose sadden from their dungeon-etraw. 
And spoke ; '* Less grief it were, of us, Sin I 
If thou would'st eat— These limbs, thou, by our birth. 
Didst clothe — Despoil them now, if need require." 
Not to increase their pangs of grief and dearth, 
^I calm'd me. Two days more, aU mut<e we stooi : . 

Wherefore didst thou not open, pitiless Earth ! 
Now, when our fqurth sad morning was renewed, 
Gaddo fell at my feet, outstretch'd and cold. 
Crying, ' Wilt thou not, father ! giro me food 7' 
Theredid he die ; and as thine eyes behold 
Me now, so saw I three, fali^ one by one. 
On the fifth day and sixth : whence, in that hold, 
I, now grown blind, orcr each lifeless son, 
Stretch'd forth mine arras. Three day8> I callM their 

names ; ' 
Then Fast achievM what Grief not yet had done." 

Je ne te connais plus sous tes traits p&]i?tans. 
! Cependant aucuns pleurs ne mouillaient ma paupière, 

\ Je no répondais point ; je me tus tout un jour. 

I Quand un noureau soleil éclaira Thémisphère, 

Quand son pâle rayon pénétra dans la tour. 
Je lus tous mes tourmens sur ces quatre Tîsages, 
£t je rongeai mes poings, sans espoir de secour. 

Mes fils, trompés sans doute à ces gestes saurages. 
D'une féroce faim me crurent consumé. 
.Mon père, dirent»ils, suspendez ces outrages ! ^ 
Par TOUS, de votre sang nqtre corps Ait foriivé, 
I' Il est à vous, prenez,'prdlongez votre vie ; 

I Puissc-t-il vous nourrir, 6 père bien aimé ! 

I Je me tus, notre force était anéantie ! 

Ce jour ni le suivant nous ne pûmes parler : 
Que ne t'abjmats-tu, terre notre ennemie ! 

Déjà noiis avions tu quatre soleils briller, 
Lorsque Gaddo tomba renversé sur la terre. 
I ' ' Mon père, eria-t il, ne peux-tu me sauver ! 

Il y mourut. Ainsi que ta vois ma misère, 
Je les vis tous mourir, l'un sur l'autre entassés, 
£t je demeurai seul, maudissant la lumière. 

Trois jours, entre mes bras leurs corps furens pressés ; 
Aveuglé de douletir, les ap|>elant encore. 
Trois jours je réchauffai ces cadavres glacés. 
Puis la faim triompha du deuil qui me dëvore. 
Vol. I. 27 



On the Inflaênce of Dante oyer hit age. — Petrarch. 

The power of the human mind was never more forcibly de^ 
monstrated, in its most exquisite masterpieces, than in the poem^ 
of Dante. Without-a prototype in any existing language, equally 
novel in its various parts, and in the combination of the whole, it 
stands alone, as the first monument of modem genius, the first 
great work which appeared in the reviving literature of Europe* 
In its composition, it is strictly conformable to the essential and 
invariable principles of the poetical art. It possesses unity of 
design and of execution ; and bears the visible impression of a 
mighty genius, capable of embracing, at once, the parts, and the 
whole of its scheme ; of employing, with facility, the most stupen- 
dous materials, and of observing all the required niceties of pro- 
portion, without experiencing any difficulty from the constraint. 
In all other respects, the poem of Dante is not within the jurisdic- 
tion of established rules. It cannot with propriety be referred 
to any particular class of composition, and its author is only to be 
judged by those laws which he thought fit to impose upon him^ 
self. His modesty induced him to give his work the title of a 
Comedy, in order to place it in a rank inferior to the Epic, to 
which he conceived that Virgil had exclusive claims. Dante had 
not the slightest acquaintance with the dramatic art, of which he 
had, in all probability, never met with a single specimen ; and 
from this ignorance proceeded that use of the word, which now 
appears to us to be so extraordinary.^ In his native country, the 
title which he gave to his uork was always preserved, and it is 
still-known as Tie Divine Comedy. A name so totally different 
from every other, seems to be happily bestowed upon a produc- 
tion which stands withoift a rival. 

The glory which Dante acquired, which commenced during his 
lifetime, and which raised him, in a little time, ^bove the greatest^ 
names of Italy, contributed but little to his happiness. He was 
born in Florence, in 1265, of the noble and distinguished ikmily of 
the Alighieri, which was attached, in politics,, to the paKy of the 
Guelphs. Whilst yet very y^oung, he formed a strong attachment 

* [Mr. Cary observes in his preface, '* Daote himself, I believe, termed it 
aimpljr The drniedy^ in the first place, because the style was of the middle kind ; 
and in the next, because the story (if story it may be called) ends hanpilv.'' 
—Tt] . 


k) Beatrice, the daagfater of Foico de' Portinari« Mrhom be lost at 
the age of twenty-five years. Throughoat his future life, he pre- 
served a faithful recollection of the passion, which, during fifteeo 
years, had essentially contributed to the happy developement of 
his feelings, and which was thus as9oriated with all his noblest sen- 
timents and his most elevated thoughts. It was, probably, about 
ten years after the death of Beatrice, when Dante commenced his 
great work, which occupied him during the remainder of his life, 
and in which he assigned the most conspicuous station to the wo- 
. man whom he had so tenderly loved. In this object of his ado- 
ration, he found a common point of union for images both human 
and divine ; and the Beatric-e of his Paradise appears to us some- 
times in the character of the most beloved of her sei, and some- 
times as an abstract emblem of celestial wisdom. Far from con- 
sidering the passion of love in the same light as the ancients, the 
father of modern poetry recognises it as a pure, elevated, and 
sacred sentiment, calculated* to ennoble .and to sanctify the soul; 
and he has never been surpassed by any who have succeeded 
him, in hi? entire and affecting devotion to the object of his at- 
tachment. Dnnte was, however, induced by considérât ioAs of 
family convenience, to enter into a new engagement. In 1291, a 
year after the death of Beatrice, he married Gemma de' Donatio 
whose obstinate and violent disposition embittered his domestic 
life. It is remarkable that, in the whole course of his work, into 
which he introduces the whole universe, he makes no personal 
allusion to his wife ; and he was actuated, no doubt, by motives of 
delicacy towards her and her family, when he passed over, in simi- 
lar silence, Corso Donati, the leader of the faction of his enemies, 
and his own most formidable adversary. In the battle of Cam- 
paldino, in 1289, Dante bore arms for his country against the 
Aretini, and, also, against the Pisans, in the campaign of 1290; 
the year subsequent to that in which the ^catastrophe of Count 
Ugolino occurred. Fie subsequently assumed the magisterial 
fanctions^ at the period so fatal to the happiness of his country, 
when (thexivil wars^ between the Bianchi and the Neri^ broke ont^ 
He was accused of a criminal partiality to the interest of the for- 
mer faction, during the time when he was a member of the Su- 
preme Council ; and when Charles de Valois, the father of Philip . 
the Sixth, proceeded to Florence, to appease the dissensions of 
the two parties, Dante was sentenced, in the year 1302, to the 
payment of an oppressive fine and to exik. By the subsequent 
sentence of a revolutionary tribunal, he was condemned, during 
his absence, to be burned alive, with all his partizans. From that 
period, Dante was compelled to seek an asylum at such of the 
Italian courts as were attached to the Ghibeline interest, and were 
not unwilling to extend their protection to their ancient enemies. 
To that party, which he had opposed in the outset of his career, 
his perpetual exile and his misfortunes compelled him, ultimatelj, 
t9 become a convert. He resided, for a considerable time, with 


the Marquis Malaspina, in the Lunigiana, widi the Couibt Eusoto 
da Gabbio, and with the two brothers, Delia Scala, lords of Ve- 
rona. Boty in eyerj quarter, the haughty obstinacy of bis cba- 
itEMTter, which became more inflexible in proportion to the cM* 
entires with which he was sarronnded, and the bitterness of hia 
wity which frequently broke out in cnustic sarcasms, raised up 
against him new enemies. His attempts to re-entçr Florence 
with his party, by force of arms, were successif èly foiled ; hia 
petitions to the people were rejected ; and his last hope, in the 
Emperor Henry the Seventh, ranished on the death of that mo- 
narch. His decease took place at Ravenna, on the t4th of Sep- 
teiQber, 1321, whilst he was enjoying the hoi!(pitable protection oi 
Guide Novello da Polenta, the lord of that city, who had always 
treated him rather as a friend than as a dependant, and who, a 
short time before, had bestowed upon him an honourable mark of 
bis cohfidence, by charging him with aa embassy to the Republic 
of Venice. 

On the death of her great poet, ùll Italy appeared to go into 
Siourning. On every side, copies of his works were multiplied, 
and enriched with numerous commentaries. In (he year 1350^ 
Giovanni Visconti, Archbishop and Prince of Milan, engaged a 
number of learned men in the laborious task of illustrating and 
explaining the obscure passages of the Divina Commedia. Six 
distinguished scholars, two theologians, two men of science, and 
two Florentine antiquaries, united their talents in this undertaking. 
Two professorships were instituted for the purpose of expound- 
ing the works of Dante. One of these, founded at Florence, in 
the year 1373, was filled by the celebrated Boccacio. The du- 
ties of the other, at Bologna, were no less worthily discharged by 
Benvenuto d'Imola, a scholar of eminence. It is questionable 
whether any other man ever exercised so undisputed an authority, 
and so direct an influence, over the age immediately succeeding 
his own; 

An additional proof of the superiority of this great genius, may 
be dravfn from the commentaries upon his works. We are there 
surprised to see his most enthusiastic admirers incapable of appre- 
ciating his real grandeur. Dante himself, in his Latin treatise, 
entitled De Fulgari Eloqueniid appears to be quite unconscious of 
the extent of his services to the literature of his country. Like 
his commentators, he principally values himself upon the purity 
and correctness of his style. Yet he is neither pure nor correct; 
but, what is far superior to either, he had the powers of creative 
invention. For the sake of the rhyme, we find him employing a 
great number of barbarous words, which do not occur a second 
time in his verses. But, when he is himself afl^cted, and wishes 
to communicate his emotions, the Italian language of the thirteenth 
century, in his powerful hands, displays a richness of expression j[ 
a parit]^, and an eli&gance, which he was the first to elicit, and by 
which it has ever since been distinguished. The personi^se^ 

OP Tins rrAUANg« 213 

Whom be introduces, «re moriDg and brealliiog beiogt ; b» pic* 
tures are nature itself ; bis langdage speaks at once to tbe ioiagi- 
Dation and to the judgment ; aod it woald be difficult to point out 
a passage in his poem, which would not form a subject for the 
pencil. The admir^ition of his commeotiitors has, also, beea 
abutidaortly bestowed on the profound learning of Dante ; who, 
it mast be allowed, appears to have been master of all tbe know- 
ledge and accomplit^hments of tbe age in which be lived. Of these 
tarioQs attainments) bis poem is the faithful depository, from 
i^hich w^ may infer, with great precision, the progress wbicb 
science bad, at that time, made, and tbe advances wbicb were yet 
necessary, to afford full satisfaction to the mind. 

It wottld here become our duty to take a summary view of tbe 
poeis, who flourished contemporaneously with Dante, and who 
either adopted him as their model, or pursued tbe path already 
opened by the Provençal writers. In this object, however, we 
bave been anticipated by M. Ginguené. in bib excellent Hittory 
rf Italian Ldterature. In speaking of the great prototypes of 
literature, with which I am myself acquainted^ and wbicb 1 have 
studied with enthusiasm^ I express the opinions which are tbe re- 
sult of my own ideas and sentimentsi In every individual, o]^- 
nions, thus formed, will posses a ceitain degree of novelty and 
peculiarity ; and so far, the field lies as open to one critic as to 
another. But in treating of those authors who bold only a se- 
condary rank, of whom i have only a venr partial knowledge, and 
that kuowle<tge, in some instancesi acqWMifrom M. Ginguené 
himself, I cannot, for a moment, hesitate in rMerring the reader, 
for complete information on this head, to the labours» of that dis- 
tingoished writer, who has devoted his whole life to tbe study of 
Italian literature, and whose correct and elegant teste, added to 
his learning, as extensive as it is accurate, have deservedly given 
to bis work universal circulation and applause. 

From this source, then, the reader will derive more ample infer- ' 
mation respecting Jacopone di Todi ; of whom we shall only here 
obsenre, that be was a monk, who was induced, by motives of bU-« 
lâility, to assume the outward appearances of insanity He was 
f(md of being insulted by children, and followed in tbe streets. 
During many years, be was persecuted by bis superiors, and lan- 
guish^ in confinement ; where, however, amid^^t all his miseries, 
be composed religious hymns, which nre not deficient in transports 
of enthusiasm, but which are frequently rendered quite unintelli- 
gible by tbe subtleties of mystical sentiment To tbe same pe- 
riod, belongs Francesco di Barberino, the disciple, like Dante, of 
BranettoLatini, and author of a treati»*e, in verse, on moral philo^ 
^P^y» Which, in conformity with tbe affected spirit <^ tbe times» 
he entitled / Dûcumenii D'Amore, Cecco d'Ascoli was also the 
contemporary of Dante, and his personal enemy. His poeni> in 
fite books, called UAcerbay or rather, according to M. Ginguené, 
VAetrva^ the heap, is a collection of all the sciences of bis 9^^ 


ÎDcladÎQg astronomy, philosophy, and relipon. It is imich less 
remarkable, for its intrinsic merit, than for the lamentable catafl- 
tropbe of its author, who was burned alive, in Florence, at a sor- 
cerer, in 1327, at the age of seventy years, after having long held 
the proferaorship of judicial astrology in the University of Jio- 
logna. Cino da Pis^toia. of the house of the Sinibaldi, was the friend 
of Dante, and wa» equrdly distingui9hed b^ the brilliancy of his 
talentïi in two different departn^nts : as a lawyer, by his commen- 
tary on the nine lirst books of the Code, and, as a poet, by his 
yerses ^addressed to the beautiful Selvaggia de' Vergiolesi, of whom 
he was deprived by death, about the year 1307. As a lawyer, he 
was the preceptor of the celebrated BaKolo, who, if he has snr-. 
passed hi^ master, yet owed much to his lessons. As a poet, he 
was the model which Petrarch loved to imitate ; and, in this view, 
he, perhaps, did iiis imitator as much injury by his refinement and 
affectation, as he bene6tted him by the example of his pnre and har- 
monious style. Fazio de' Uherti, grandson of the great Farinata, 
and who. in consequence of the hatred which the Florentines enter- 
tained for his ancestor, lived and died in esile, raised himself to 
equal celebrity^ at this period, by his sonnets, and other verses. At 
a much later time of life, he composed a poem, of the descriptive 
kind, entitled Dettamondo. in which he proposed to imitate Dante, 
and to display the real world, as that poet had portrayed the world 
of spirits. But it need hardly be said, that the distance between 
the origmal and the imitation is great indeed. 

In some respects^pH^ these poets, and many others, whose 
names are yet mor^^Soscure. have common points of resemblance. 
We find, in all, the same subtlety of idea, the same^iocobereat 
images, and the same perplexed sentiments. The spirit of tbe 
times was perverted by an affected refinement ; and it is a snbject 
of just surprise, that in the very outset of a nation, simplicity and 
natural feeling should have been superseded by conceit and bom- 
«bast. It is, however, to be considered, that this nation did not 
form her own taste, but adopted that of a foreign country, before 
she was qualified, by her own improved knowledge, to make a 
proper choice. The verses of the Troubadours of Provence 
were circulated from one end of Italy to the other. They were 
•diligently perused and committed to memory by every poet who 
aspired 4o public notice, some of whom exercised themselves in 
compositions in the same language ; and although the Italians, if 
we except the Sicilians, had never any direct intercourse with the 
Arabians, yet they derived much information from them by this 
eirruttous route. The almost unintelligible subtleties with which 
they treated of love, passed for refinement ot sentiment ; while 
the perpetual rivalry which was maintained between the heart and 
the head, between reason and passion, was looked upon as an inge- 
nious application of philosophy to a literary subject. The cause- 
less griefs, the languors, the dying complaints of a lover, became 
a constituent portion of the consecrated language in which he ad* 


âi'êssed his mistresSyjumd from which he could not, without im** 
propriety, depart* Conventional feelings in poetry, thus usurped 
the place of those native and simple sentiments i^hich are the off- 
spring of the heart. But, instead of dwelling upon these defects 
in the less celebrated poets, we shall attempt to exhibit the general 
spirit of the fourteenth century, as displHyed in the woi k» of the 
greatest man whom Italy, in that age, pioduccd, whose repotatioa 
has been most widely spread, and whose influence has beea.most 
extensively felt, not only in Italy, but in France, in Spam, and ïtt 
Portugal. The reader will easily imagine that it is Petrarch, the 
lorer of Laura, to whom we here allude. 

Petrarch was the son of a Florentine, who, like Dante, had been 
exiled from his native city. He was bom at Arezzo, on the night 
of the nineteenth of July, 1304, and he died at Arqua, near Padua^ 
on the eighteenth of July, 1374. During the century, ol which 
bis life occupied the greater portion, he was the centre of Italian 
hteratufe. Passionately attached to letters, and more «speciallj^ 
to hbtory and to poetry, and an enthusiastic admirer of antiquity, 
he imparted to his contemporaries, by his discourses, his writing^', 
and his example, that taste for the recovery and study of Latin 
manuscripts, which so eminently distinguished the fourteenth cen- 
tury ; which preserved the masterpieces of the classical authors, 
at the very moment when they were about to bt* lost for ever ; 
and gave a new impulse, by (be imitation of those admirable mo- 
âels, to the progress of the humah intellect Petrarch, tortured 
by the passion, which has contributed so-greatly to his celebritj, 
endeavoured, by travelling, during a considerable portion of his 
life, to escape from himself and to change the current of hi» 
thoughts. He traversed France, Germany, and every part of 
Italy ; he visited Spain ; and, with incessant activity, directed 
his attention to the examination of the remains of antiquity. He 
became intimate with all the scholars, poets, and philosophers,- 
from one end of Europe to the other, whom he inspired with his 
own spirit. While he imparted to them the object of his own la- 
hours, he directed their studies ; and his correspondence became 
a sort of magical bond, which, for the first time, united the whole 
literary republic of Europe. At the age in which he lived, that 
continent was divided into petty states, and sovereigns had not yet 
attempted to establish any of those colossal empires, so dreaded 
hy other nations. On the cc^trary , each country was divided into^ 
smaller sovereignties. The authority of many a prince did not ex- 
tend above thirty leagues from the little town over which he ruled ; 
while at the distance of a. hundred, his name was unknown. In- 
proportion, however, as political importance was confined, literary 
glory was extended ; and Petrarch, the friend of Azzo di Gorregio, 
f rince of Parma, of Luchino, and of Galeuzzo Visconti,' Princes- 
of Milan, and of Francesco di Carrara, Prince of Padua, was 
better known and more respected, tfiroughout Europe, than amy 
of those petty sovereigns. This universal reputation, to which his 
l^igh acquirements entitled him^ «nd of which he frequently made 



uat, ia fovw^rdiiig the interesvls of litersture, he oocaAÎoaaUy 
tURied. to account, £br poUlical purposes. No mao of letters, no 
poet, was, doabtlesa, erer charged with so maoy embaissies to 
great pote&tatea ; to the Emperor, the Pope, the King of France, 
the seiiate of Venice, and all the Princes of Italy. It '» vev j re-^ 
markaUe that Petcarchdid not fulfil these duties merely as a sub- 
ject of the state which had committed its mterests to hi» hands; 
bitt that he acted for the benefit of all Europe. He was iotrnated 
with such missions, on. account of his reputation ; and when be 
tixeated with the different princes, it was as it tvere, in thift charac- 
ter of an arbitrator, whose sufirage every one was eagen to obtain* 
that he might stand high in the opinion of posteraty. 

The prodigious labours of Petrarch to promote the stuéf of an? 
cieni literature, are, after all, his noblest title to glory. Such was 
tbe fitew in which they were regarded by the age m which he liyed» 
^ and. such afaio was his own opinion. His celebrity, notwithatand- 
ing, at the present day, depends much more on his Italian lyrical 
poems, than on his yolnminous Latin compositioas. These ly> 
rical pieces^ which, were imitated irom the Provencals, from Cino 
jda Pistoia, and from the other poets who flourished at tbe com^ 
mencement of that century, have served in their turn, as models 
ta all the distinguished poets of the Sooth. 1 would gladly make 
my readers acquainted with some of these poems;, if, in my traosf 
lationa, any. of those beauties which so essentially depend upon the 
harmony and colouring of their most. musical and picturesque. Ian ^ 
gfuage, could possibly be preserved 

The lyrical style of poetry is^ tbe first which is cultiraied in 
every- language, on the revival of i^ literature ; for it is that which 
is most essentially poetical, and in which tbe poet can abandon 
htoMelf most fredy to his vivid impressions. In an epic poem the 
author never ceases to think of his readers. His object is to give m 
faithful narrative, and to present to. their eyes events, in which he 
can have no personal iatereet. In the drama, he absolutely lotiea. bis 
idei^ty, and transforms himself into the various persons whom he 
ci^eatesir In the pastorid, it is true, he bus an opportunity for. (he 
expression of sentiment, but it is not his ownj; and he ia forced to 
accommodate himself to conventional notions, and to an tdeatl mode 
of life* The lyrical poet, on the contrary, is ever himaelf ; he 
expresses, in his own person, his own peculiar emotions ; he sings 
because he is affected, because he i* inspired» Poetry, which ia 
addressed to others, and the object of which is persuasion, should 
borruw its oi^aments firom eloquence ; but when it is an efiosion 
of the heart, an overflow of sentiment, its true embellishment is 
harmony. The ordinary measure of verse is insuflicient fi)r the 
heart which would pour out its feelings, and delight in contem^ 
.{dating theoK The verses must be accompanied by music,, or by 
the regular return of the stanza, the natural harmony of language. 
Veroes, which follow one another without being musically disposed, 
v3o not seem sufficiently poetical to express the feehngs of the 


writer; and he discovers by the ear alooe, new rules, the èbser- 
vation of which may render the' harmonioas pleasure more com- 

The ode, in the form in which it existed among the ancients, and 
a» it is to be found in the works* of many of the poets of Ger- 
many, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, is the most peifect model of 
the lyrical style. The French haf^e retained the same form. 
Their stanza is sufficiently musical ; and the indeterminate length 
of the poem, and the regularity of each stanza, admit of that 
mitture of freedom an'i constraint which the expression of sen- 
timent requires. The fihort French verse, which is not generally 
suspected to consist of réguler feet, is always composed of loQg 
and short syllables, distributed in a harmonious order, and, at 
least in the hands of ingenious poets, has a good effect upon the 
ear. Inspiration, however, is wanting to it. Instead of their 
feelings, our poets have given us their reflections, and philosophy 
has gained possession of a style of poetry to which it did not seem 
to have the smallest title. 

The Italians have not remained entirely faithful to the genuine 
style of lyrical composition, but their wanderings have been fewer 
than ours. It is singular that Petrarch, who was nurtured by the 
etady of the ancients, and who was so much attached to the Ro* 
man poets, should never have attempted to introduce the ode 
into the Italian language. Neglecting the models which Horace 
has left, and with the value of which be was so well acquainted, 
Petrarch has clothed all his lyrical inspirations in two meaaureSi 
both of which are far more strict and fettered 4 the sonnet, bor- 
rowed from the Sicilians, and the canzone of the Provencals. 
These two forms of versification, which have been consecrated by 
him, and which, down to the present day, are much used in Italy, 
confined even his genius in their bonds, and gave a less natural air 
even to bis inspiration* The sonnet, more especially, seems to 
have had a fatal Influence on the poetry of Italy. The inspi^ 
ration of a lyric poet, however it may be confined as to form, 
should surely h^ve no limitation as to its length. But this bed of 
Procrustes, as an Italian has ingeniously called it, confines the 
poet's thoughts within the «tated space of fourteen verses. If the 
thought should be <too short for this extent, it is necessary to draw 
k out, till it fills the common measure; if, on the contrary» it be 
too long, it must be barbarously curtailed, in ordei* to introduce 
it. Above all, it is necessary to set off so ehort a poem, with 
brilliant ornaments ; and, as warm and p^issionate sentiments de- 
mand a considerable space in which to display ^emselves, inge- 
nious conceits have usurped, in a composition so essentially lyrical 
as this, the place of feeling. Wi^ and frequently fake wit^is all 
that we meet with. 

The sonnet is composed of two quatrains and two tercets f and 
has generally four, and^iever more than five rhymes. Its ad- 
mirers discover the most harmonious, grace in the regularity of 

Tox. I. 28 

i^% «N THE X^lTJ^a^iTURfi 

tbe neasare ; to the ivro qnaUrauu, which, with their cerrcs- 
ponding rhymed, open the sahje^ct and prepare the mind of the 
reader ; and in the two tercets^ which, moving more raqiidlj, fiilfil 
the expect^jtion which has heen excited, con^plete the image, and 
«atiafy the poetical feehog. Tbe sonnet is essentiaUj nrasical* 
and essentially founded on the harmony ef sound, from which its 
name is derived. It acts upon the mind rather through the words 
Ihan by the thoughts. The nchnese and fidness of the rhymes 
constitute a portion of its grace. The return oi the same soundi 
makes a more powerful impression, in proportion to their repeti- 
tion and completeness ; and we are astonished when we thus find 
ourselves affected, almost without the power of being able to as- 
certain the cause of our emotion. 

To find a sufficient number of words which wiU rhyme togor 
ther, is a much more laborious task in French than in Italian. In 
the latter langage, almost all the syllables are simple, and fooaed 
from a few letters, so that the words present a great numhejr of si- 
milar terminations. But the invariable regnkrity of the sonnet, 
in its length and in its measures, produces an indescrihahle monQi- 
tony in these compositions. The first division of thesonnet is gene- 
rally filled with some briUiant images, while the latter contains 
an epigram, an unexpected turn, or a striking antithesis, to excite 
the mind to momentary admiration. It is to these poems thai the 
Italians owe their cojiceltt, which proceed from an affectation of 
wit, employed upon words rather than things. Of these, Petrarch, 
among other authors, affords us many examples. 

On tbe other hand, tbe brevity of the sonnet, has, no doulrt, been 
the cause of mucfi labour and care being bestowed on that kind of 
composition* In a long poem, tbe portions which connect the 
more important parts, are often necessarily devoid of interest 
The poet, in all probability, calculating upon the inattention of 
his readers, is negligent in this part of his task ; an indnlgiencft 
which is frequently fatal to the language and to the poetical spirit 
of the piece* When Petrarch, however, gave to the world a 
short poem of fourteen lines, in this isolated form, which was to 
be appreciated by its own merits, he bestowed tbe utmo^ care 
upon it, nor suffered it to appear, unless he deemed it worthy of 
his fiime. Thus, the Italian language made a most rapid progress 
between the times of Dante and Petrarch. Moue exact vules 
wero introduced ; a crowd of barbarous words were riqected ; 
the nobler were separated from the more vulgar expressions ; 
and the latter were excluded for ever from the language of verse. 
Poetry became more elegant, more melodiousi and more pleasing 
to tbe ear of taste ; but it lost, at least according to my apprehei^ 
sion, much of the expression of Uruth and nature. 

Petrarch, who founded all his hopes of glory on his Latin com* 
positions, did not place much value upon his Italian verses. The 
first sonnet which we meet with in his Canzoniere is not merely 
modest, but expresses a singular sentiment of shame for thn( 
which, in fact, constitutes his celebrity. 



'^ All fe who li^y ifvwnaiy waited strain, 

Those sighs with which my youthftil heart was fedl, 
Erewhile fond {passion's mate I wont to tread» 

Erewhile I liyed estrangM to manlier pain ; 

Forait those vàitt deihirei, andgrieb as Tain, 
These tears, thoàé plaints, by aibVutis fhney bred, 
If ye by tore's strong power hate e'er been led, 

PUy, nay, haply pardon, I may gain. 

Oft on my 6heek the conscious crimson glows, 
And sad rëltéctiori tells — ^ufagrateful thooght ! — 

How jeering clr^wds haye irfocl'd my loTC-lorn woeè : 

But folly's fruits are penitenee and shame j 

, With this just maxim, I'fto too dearly bought, 
' That man's applause is bnt a transient dream. f 

I^t is evident that this sonnet was written at a perioil, when the 
poet, already on the threshold of age, had given himself up ta 
remorse and religious terrors. He^ doubtless, reproached him- 
self u^ith fosteriûg a passion, which had exerted so powerful an 
influence over his Hfe, whith he had nourished with, unsob- 
daed constancy, f6r one and twenty years, and which still remained 
sacred to hih heart, so long after the loss of its object. Thb re- 
morse was grouodiesê. Never did passion burn more purely 
than iti the love of Petrarch for Laura. Of all the Erotic poets,- 
he aloiie nevei* expresses a single hope, offensive to the purity of 
a heart Which had been pledged to another. When Petrarch first 
beheld htty on the sixth of April, 1327, t^aura was in the chnrclv 
of Avignon. She was the daughter of Audibert dé Noves, and 
wife of Hugues de Sade, both of Avignon. When she died of the 
Plague, on the sixth of April, 1348, she had been the mother of 
elei^en children. Petrarch has celebrated, in upwards of three 
hundred sonnets, all the little circumstances of this attachment ; 
those precious favours, which, after an acquaintance of fifteen or 

* Voi ch* ascoltate in rime spars il suono 

Di quel sospiri, ond' io nodriva il core 

In aul mie primo giorenile errore. 

Quand' era in parte altr' hoom da quel ch' i sono ;- 
Del vario stile in ch' io piango e ragiono, 

Fra le vane sperdnze, e 'I van dolore, 

Ove sia chi per prbva intenda amore, 

Spero trovar pietà, non che perdonoJ 
Ma ben reggi' hor, si come al popol tutto 

Fayola fui gran tempo ; oade sovente 

Di me medesmo meco mi vergogne : 
£ del mio vaneggiar rergogna è* 1 frutto 

£ *1 pentini, e' 1 conoscer chiaramentc 
Che quanto piaée at mondoe brere sogno. 


1 [The translation of this sonnet is taken from a small volume, published' 
in 1777, under the title of " Sonnets, and Odes, translated from the Italian of 
Petrarch.*' For the remaining versions, from this poet, the editor only is 
responsible. — TV.] 


2S0' ON THE LiTfi'RiLTtflllf 

twenty years, consisted at most of a kind word, a glance not afto^^ 
gether severe, a momentary expression of regret or tendemessr 
at his departure, or a deeper paleness at the idea of losing her 
beloved and constant friend. Yet even these marks of an attache- 
ment so pure, and unobtrasive, and which he had so often strag- 
gled to subdue, wer« repressed by the coldness of Laura, who, 
to preserve her lover, cautiously abstained from giving the least 
encouragement to his love. She avoided his presence, except at 
church, in the brilliant levees of the papal court, or in the coun- 
try, where, surrounded by her friends, she is described by Pe- 
trarch a» exhibitmg the semblance of a queen, pre-eminent among 
them all in the grace of her figure, and the brilliancy of her 
beauty. It does not appear that, in the whole course of these 
twenty years, the poet ever addressed her unless, in the pretienceof 
witnesses. ^ An mterview with her alone would sureljf (lave been. 
celebrated in a thousand verses ; and, as he has le A us four son- 
nets on the good fortune he enjoyed, in having an opportunity of 
picking up her glove, we may fairly presume, that he would not 
have passed over in silence so happy a circumstance as a private 
interview. There is no poet, in any language, so perfectly pure 
as Petrarch, so completely above alf reproach of levity and im- 
morality ;. and thi| merit, which is due equally to the poet and to 
his Laura,^is still more remarkable, when we consider that the 
models which he followed were by no means entitled to the same 
praise. The verses of the Troubadours and of the Trouvère» 
were very licentious. The court of Avignon, at which Laura 
lived; the Babylon of the West, as the poet himself often terms 
it, was filled with the most shameful corruption ; and even the 
Popes, more especially Clement V^ and Clement VI. had afforded 
examples of great depravity. Indeed, Petrarch himself, in his 
intercourse with other ladies, was by no means so reserved. For 
Laura, he bad conceived a sort of religious and enthusiastic pas- 
sion ; such as mystics imagine they feel towards the Deity, and- 
such as Plato supposes to be the bond of union between elevated 
minds. The poets, who have succeeded Petrarch, have amused 
themselves with giving representations of a similar passion, of 
which, in fact,, they bad little or no experience. 

In order to appreciate the full beauty of Petrarch's sonnets-, it 
would be necessary to write the history of bis Wtachment, as M* 
Gingnené has so ably done ; and thus to assign to every sonnet, 
the place to which its particular sentiment destines it. But it 
would be even more necessary, that I should myself be sensible 
of the excellence of these poems, and that I should feel that charm ^ 
which has enchanted every nation and every age. To this, I 
must acknowledge, that I am a stranger. I could have wished, in 
order to comprehend and become interested in the passion of Pe- 
trarchi that there should have been a somewhat better under- 
standing between the lovers ; that they should have had a more 
intimate knowledge of each other ; and that, by this means, we 


might oarselrei hare been better acquainted with both. I couM 
have fviflhed to have «een some impretusion made upon the neosi- 
bilitj of this loving and long- loved lady ; to have seen her heart, 
as «fell as her minrl, enlarging itself and yielding to the constancj 
and the parity of true friendship, since virtue denied a more ten- 
der retarn It is tiresome to tnid the fiame ^eil, always shading 
Dot only the figure, but the intellect and the heart of the woman 
who is celebrated in the^e monotonous verses. If the p>t>t had 
allowed us a fairer view of her, he would have been less likely to 
&1I into ezagge rations, into which «ny iui «gjnalioa, at least, is una- 
ble to follow him. How desirable would it be, that he should 
have recalled her to our minds hy thought, by feeling, and by pas- 
sion, rather than by a perpetunl play upon the words Laura (the 
laarel,} and Paura (the air.) The fir^^t of these conceits, more 
especially, is incet^snntly repeated, nor merely in the poemfl 
alone. Throughout Petrarch's whole life, we are in doubt 
whether it is of Laura, or of the laurel that be is enamoured ; so 
great is the emotion which he expresses, whenever he beholds 
the latter ; so pa^^sionately does he mf^ntion it i and so frequently 
has he celebrated it in his verses. Nor is that personified heart» 
to which Petrarch perpetually addresses himself, less fatiguinjg. 
It speaks, it answers, it argues, it is ever upon his lips, in hia 
eyes, and yet ever at a di^tanre. He is always absent, and we 
cannot avoid wishing thiit during his banishment, he would for 
ODce cease to speak of it. Judging from these coneetii^ and from 
the continual personification of beings which have no personal attri- 
butes, it has always appeared to me that Petrarch is by no means so 
great a poet as Dante, because he is le-ts of a painter. There 
is scarcely i^ne of his sonnets, in which the leading idea is not com- 
pletely at variance with the principles of painting, and which does 
not, therefore, escape from the imagination. Poetry may be called 
ahappy union of two of the fine arts. It has borrowed its harmonies 
from music> and its images from painting. But, to confound the 
two objects which poetry has thus in view, is to be equally in 
error; whether we attempt, by an image, to represent a coinci- 
dence in sound, as when the laurel is put for Laura ; or whether 
we wish to call up an image by sounds, as when, neglecting the rules 
of harmony, we produce a discordance suited to the object we de- 
sign to paint, and make the serpents, of which we are speaking, hiss 
in our verses. Waving, however, as far as depends upon myself^ 
my prejudice against Petrarch, of which I feel somewhat distmst- 
ftl, because it is in opposition to the gênerai taste, 1 shall trans* 
late a few of his sonnets ; not for the purpose of criticising them, 
but in order to lead those, who are but imperfectly acquainted 
with the Italian language, to a more complete knowledge of them, 
so that they may read them without fatigue, and may comprehend 
the sense, while they enjoy the harmony of the sound ; and, in 
Bhort) that they may form their own judgment upon the master- 
pieces of one of the most celebrated men of modem times. 




"^ W£th>Mr j bead «tid^ loekB of retereiid gray, 

Tbe oM mail leaves bû youth's sweet dweUiii|;-pIacey 

And grief is mark'd on each familiar face, 
Which watches him, as forth he takes his way : 
And f^e departs, though from his latest day 

Net distant far, and widi an old maa'à pace, 

With f<ght good wUl, he enters on the race, 
iThough tra?el>tired and broken with decay : 
And d6w, accomplishing his last desires. 

In Home, he sees the iusce of that One, 
Whom to bcbdd in Heat eoiiis ioal aspna* i 

Etob ao hare I, sWeet lady ! ever gone 
Searchinu^ in other's features, for Mma tiliiEiè 
iÈpproacmng thy long-lost peculiar grace. 

soK^l^T xvir. 

t Gnatnres the^ be» bf sight so keen and high. 

That even on the sun they bead their gaze ; 

Others, who, dazzled by too fierce a blaze, 
< tlsue n6t foith till evening ?eils the sky : 

Others, who, with inrane desire, would try 

Tbe bliss which dwelU within the fire's bright rays, 

But, in their sport, find that its fervour slays | 
Alas ! of thil^ last heedless band am I: 
l^ince strength I boast not, to support the light 

Of that fair foMn, nor, in obscure sojourn^ 
Aiu skU&M to fence me, nor enshrouding nig^t ; 

Wherefore, with eyes which ever weep and mourn, 
My fate compels me still to court her sight. 

Conscious I follow flames which shine to burn. 

The succeeding fionùêt Was written at à time, whch tbe beau- 
ties of Làarà began to fade. We are astonished at the coostaocjF 


* Movesi '1 vccchiarel canuto e biancd 
-''Dal doke loco 07' ha sua età forntta, 
£ dalla famigliuola sbigottita 
Che vedè caro padre venir manco ; 

Ittdi traendo poi I' antico fianco 
Pet V estréme giornate di sua vita, 
Quanio pio pu6, ctfl boon voler s' alla, 
ftotto dasH anni, e dal cammino stance t 

B viene a Roma seguendo 'I desio, 
ter vAïtBt H sembian^a di celui 
Ch' Mtedr lasM nel eiel veder e épera : 

€<^ lasèo talor vo eercand' io 
Donna, quant' è possibile, in altrui 
La désîata vostra forma vera. 

T Son animait a! mondo di pi altera 

Vista, Che 'hcontr' al sol pur si difende : 
Altti, per^ ehe 1 gran lume gll ofi'ende, 
Non escon fuor se ndn verso la sera ; 


ay THfi ITAttlÀNS. 223 

which Petrarch dispb^i , towards Qoe wbQ ctiild no loafer charm 

the eye of the beholder. 


'*' Wa?ed to the winds were those long lock? of gold. 

Which in a thousand burnish'd ringlets flow'd, 

And the sweet light, beyond all measure, gloir'di ' 
-Of those fair eyes, which I no more behold ; 
Nor (so it seem'd) that face, aught harsh or eold 

To me (if true or false, I know not) show'd : 

Me, in whose breast the amorous lure abode, 
If flames consumed, what marvel to unfold ? 
That step of hers was of no mortal guise. 

But of angelic nature, and her tongue 

Had other utterance than of human louods ; 
A living sun, a spirit of the skies, 

I saw her — Now, perhaps, not so— But womd^ 

Heal not, for that the bow is since unstrung. 

Iq the second part of Petrarch's poems, vre fiad those which 
were written ^der the death of Laura, who, as we hare- already 
mentioned, died in 1648, at the age of forty-oiM^ haviag beeo, for 
twenty-one years, the object of Petrarch's attachment. The 
poet was-, at the time of that event, at Verona ; and some of the 
poems, which were occasioned by this to!*s, are distinguished by 
more natural feelings, and excite in the reader a more lively sym- 
pathy. Still, there is, perhaps, too much ingenuity and inventioa 
displayed, to be compatible with great grief. 


Those eyes, my bright and glowing theme erewhile, 

That arm, those hands, that lovely fb.ot, that face, 
\|fhose view was wont my fancy to beguile, 

And raise me high o'er all of human race ; 
Those golden locks that How'd in liquid grace. 

And the sweet lightning of that angel smile, ' 
Which made a Paradise of every place, 

What are they ? dust, insensible and-vilel 

Ed altri col desio falle, che spera 
Gioir forse nel foco, perché splende, 
Provao I' aitra virtu, quella che 'ncende; 
Lasso, il mio loco è 'n questa ultima scliiera,; 

Ch' i non son forte ad aspettar hi luce 
Di questa donna, e non so fare schermi 
Di luoghi tenebrosi, ô d'ore tarde. 

Ferô con gli occhi lagrimosi e Wermi 
Mio destine a vederla mi conduce : 
£ sd ben ch' io va dietro a quel ch^a m' ard** 


Erano i capei d'oro a 1' aara «gar^i, 
Che 'n niille dqlci nodi gli avolgea : 
£ '1 vaf;o lume oltra misura arde^ 
Pi qaei begll occhi, ch' or ne son si scarsi ; 


And yet I live ! ob grief f ob nfe ! oh shame ! 

Ueft of the guiding star I lored so long, 
A sbipwreck'd bark, which storms of woes assail. 

Be this the limit of my amorous song: 
Qnench'd in my bosom is the sacred flame. 

And my harp murmurs its ezpiriog wail.^ 

Od his retara to Vaacluae, where he was never again to behold 
tiis Laura, Petrarch wrote the following sonnet* 


I feel the well-known breeze, and the sweet bill 

Again appears, where rose that beauté au« light 

Which (while Heaven wUlM K) mei my «yes, then bright 
With gladness, but now dimmM with many an ill. 
Vain hopes ! weak thous^hts ! Now, turbid i.-« the rill; 

The flowers have droop'd ; and she hath ta'en her flight 

From the cold nest, which once, in proud delight, 
Living and dying, I had hoped to fill : 
I hoped, in these retreats, and in the blaze 

Of her fair eyes, which have eonsumed my heart. 
To taste the sweet reward of troubled days. 

Thou, whom I serve, how bard and proud thou art ! 
Erewhile, thy flame consumed me ; now, 1 mourn 
Over tiie ashes which have ceased to bum.t 

£ '1 vise di pietosi color farsi. 

Non so se vero 5 falso, mi pareA : 

I' che I' esca amoroaa al petto avea, 

Qual maraviglia, se di subit', arsi ? 
Non era V andar suo cosa mortale, 

Ma d'aogelica forma, e le parole 

Sonavan altro che pur voce humaoa. 
Uno spirto celeste, un vivo sole 

FÙ quel c&' i yidi : e se non fosse or tale, 

Piaga per allentar d'arco non sana. 

* Gli ocehi, di ch'io parlai si caldamente, 
£ le braceia et le manii e i piedi, e *1 viso, 
Che m' havean si da me stesso diviso, 
£ fatto singular da I'altra gente ; 

Le crespe chiome d'or puro luteote, ' 
£ 'I lampeggiar de Pangelico riso, , 
Che aolean far in terra un paradiso, 

' Pooa polvere son che nulla sente. 

£d iu pur vivo : onde mi doglio e sdegno, 
Rimaso senza *1 lume, ch' amai tanto. 
In gran fortune, e 'n disarmato legno. 

Or sia qui fine al mio amoroso canto: 
Secca e la vena de I'usato ingegno, 
£ la cetera mia rivolta in pianto. 

t ftento Paura mia antica, e i dolci colli 
Veggio apparir, onde 'I bel lume nacque 
Che tenne gli occhi miel, mentr' ai ciel piaeque, 
Bimmosi e lieti ; or li tien tristi e molK. 


Were I to ^ire more numerous eitracts» they would not render 
the stjle and the spirit of Petrarch's sonnets better known to 
those who do not read Italian ; and, as examples merely, what are 
given are sufficient. The other form of his lyrical compositions, 
the canzone^ is not unknown to us, although we have no express 
word for ft, in the French ; that of chamon^ derived from it, 
signifying a poem of a toially different kind. We have seen that, 
among the Troubadonra and the Trouvères, the chansons were 
odes divided into reg'ilar stanzas, longer than those of the odes of 
antiquity. The verses, which had the variety both of measure 
and rhyme, were disposed according to the rule of harmony 
which the poet established in the ôrst stanza, and which was 
flcropuloasly observed in all the subsequent ones. The Italian 
éanzone differed from the Provençal, in not being limited to five 
stanzas and an envoy, and in the more rare use of those very 
short lines, which sometimes give such vivacity to the Provençal 
poetry. There are some of Petrarch's canzoni, in which we find 
stanzas of twenty lines. .This extraordinary lepgth, which per- 
haps renders the harmony le^is perceptible to the ear, has given a 
pecaliar character to the canzoni^ and distinguishes the romantic 
from the classical ode. Modern poets, instead of pursuing the 
rapid and passionate inspiration of their feelings, dwell upon the 
same thought ; not precisely for the purpose of filling up the 
stanza, for, to this mechanical process, the true poet will never 
submit, but of preserving the regular and corresponding advance 
of the stanza and the sentiment. They bestowed more attention 
upon that reflective spirit, which is occupied with its own con- 
templations ; upon that analytical power, which subjects every 
thing to its scrutiny ; and upon that forcible imagination, which 
places its object before us ; but their enthusiasm vanished. The 
translation of a canzone of Petrarch could never be confounded 
with the translation of an ode of Horace. We are obliged to 
class them both under the head of lyrical poems ; but we imme- 
diately perceive that such a division includes very different kinds 
of compositions. 

I feel myself called upon to give, at least, a small specimen of 
those poems which have contributed so greatly to», the renown of 
Petrarch ; and I shall select a few stanzas from the fifth canzone. 

O caduche speranze, o pensier folli ! 

yedo?e I'hcrbe e torbide son I'acque ; 

E voto, e freddo '1 nido in ch' ella giacque, 

Nel qual io vivo e morto giacer roUi ; 
Sperando al fin da le soavi piante 

£ da* begli occbi suoi, che'l cor m'faan arso, 

Ripoao alcun da le fatiehe tante. 
Ho eeryito a signor crudele e scarso : 

Gb' arsi quanto '1 mio foco hebbe davante ; 

Or ?d piaagendo il auo ceiiere sparse. 

Vol. I. 29 


in which he exhorts the Bishop of Lombez to take up the cross, 
for the delivery of the Holy Land. This is, in my opinion, one 
of his most brilliant and enthusiastic poems, and one which apr 
preaches nearest to the ancient ode* 

* And all wbo dwell between the salt main-sea* 
And Rhone, and Rhine, and ail between thy wave, 
Garonne ! and the high hiUs, that Christian train 
Shall join. And if there be who lore the brave, 
Within that circle which the Pyrenees 
Hold in horizon, Aragon and Spain 
Shall be left desert. England, with the isles 
Sea-girt, between the conatelJated Bear 
And the great-pillar'd streight ; 
Yea, every land, where yet 
The sainted lore of Helicon has charnu;,' 
. ' Diverse in language, in attire, in arms. 

This deed, for charity's sweet sake, shall dare. 
What love so faithful, or what tender age 
Of child, or charms of maiden, may compare < 

With the stem duties of this holy rage ! 

A region of the world there is afar. 
Whelm 'd under drifted snows, and bound with frost» 
Where, wide remote from the sun's bright career, 
In clouds and mist, the day is briefly lost : 
^ere dwell a race, by nature prone to war, 
And, even in death itself, disdaining fear. 
% Let these, more pious than they yet appear. 

Join, with their hardy bands, the German host ! 

Thenceforth, I deem, not long 

The Turk and Arab throng. 

With the Chaldee, along the Red Sea coast, 

Their own vain force, or their false gods shall botst ! 

A people naked, timorous, slow, 

To grasp the steel, nor skilPd, nor strong, 

But Wasting on the wind their aimless blow! 

f We shall not enter into so minute an examination of those alle- 
gorical poems, to which Petrarch has given the name of Triumphs. 
Not because they display any paucity of imagination, or any want 


Chiunque alberga tra Garona e '1 monte, 
£ tra *l Rodano o ^1 Reno e l'onde salse 
L' ensegne Christianissime accompagna: 
Et a cui mai di vero pregio calse, 
Dal Pireneo a ultimo orizonte. 
Con Aragon bucerà vota Ispagna ; 
Inghilterra, con l'Isole che bagna 
L'Oceano, intra'l carro e le colonne, 
Infin là, dove sona 
Dottrina del santissimo Helicona, 
Varie di lingue, e d'arme, e de le gonnej 
A I'alta impresa cantate sprona. 




of that pictorial art, by which the poet places the object of bis 
verse before the eyes of bis reader ; hot because those composi*- 
tions are evidently fomned on the model of Dante. There is the 
same metre ; the same division into cantos, or chapters» not ex* 
ceeding a hundred and fifty lines ; and there are similar kinds of 
visions, in which the poet is partly the spectator and partly the 
actor. He is present, successively, at the Triumph of Love, of 
Chastity, of Death, of Renown, of Time, and o/ the Divinity. 
But the great vision of Dante, occupying a long poem, approaches 
almost to a second natnre. We are struck with the action ; we 
are interested for the characters ; and we forget the allegory. 
Petrarch, on the contrary, nover loses sight of his object, or the 
moral precept which be designs to inculcate. Two things alone 
are perpetually before our eyes ; the adyice intended for the 
reader, and the vanity of the poet ; and we feel as little inclined 
to gratify the latter as to profit by the former* 

The Latin compositions, upon which Petrarch rested his fame, 
and which are twelve or fifteen times as voluminous as his Italian 
writings, are now only read by the learned. The long poem en- 
titled Africa^ which he composed on the victories of the elder 
Scipio, and which was considered, in his own age, as a master- 
piece worthy of rivalling the ^oeid, is very fatiguing to the ear. 
The style is inflated, and the subject so devoid of interest, and so 
exceedingly dull, as absolutely to prevent the persual of the 
work. His numerous epistles in verse, instead of giving interest 
to the historical events to which they allude, acquire it from that 
circumstance. The imitation of the ancients, and the fidelity of 
the copy, which in Petrarch's eyes constituted their chief merit, 
deprive these productions of every appearance of truth. The 
invectives against the barbarisTRs who had subjugated Italy, are so 
cold, so bombastic, and so utterly destitute of all colouring suited 
to the time and place, that we might believe them to be written by 

Deh ! quil amor si licito, b si degoo. 

Quai figli mai, quai donne 

FuroB materia a si giusto diidegno? 

Una parte del mondo è che si giace 

Mai sempre in ghiaccio ed in eelate nevi, 

Tutta lontana dal cammin del sole. 

Là, sotto giomi nubilosi e breri, 

Nemica natundmente di pace, 

Kasce una gente a cui '1 morir non dole. 

Questa, se più devota che non sole 

Col Tedesco furor la spada eigne, 

Turehi Arabi e Chaldei 

Coo tutu quei che speran ne gU Dei 

Di qua dal mar che fà l'onde sangoigne, 

Quanto sian da prezzar» conoscer dei : 

Popolo ignndo, paventoso e lento, 

Che ferro mai non sttigna, 

Ma tutti » calpi suoi commette al rente. 


some rhetorician, whi> had never seen Italy ; and we m^ht con* 
found them with those which a poetic fary dictated to Petrarch ham- 
self, against the Gauls who besieged the capitid. His philosophical 
works, among which may be mentioned a treatise on Solitary Life, 
and another on Good and Bad Fortune, are scarcely less bombastic. 
The sentiments display neither truth nor depth of thought. They 
are merely a show of words, on some given subject. The au- 
thor pre-dtetermines his view of the question, and never examines 
the arguments for the purpose of discovering the truth, but of 
vanquishing the difficulties which opposç him, and o(^ making 
every thing agree with his own system. His letters, of which a 
voluminous collection has been publiahed, which ig, however, far 
from being complete, are, perhaps, more read than any other of 
his works, as they throw much light upon a period which is well 
worthy of being known. We do not, however, discover in them 
either the familiarity of intimate friendship, or the complete open- 
ness of an amiable character. They display great caution, and 
studied propriety, with an attention to effect, which is not always 
successful An Italian would never have written Latin letters to his 
friends, if he had wished only to unfold the secrets of his heart ; bat 
the letters of Cicero were in Latin, and with them Petrarch wish- 
ed to have his own compared. He was, evidently, always think- 
ing more of the public than of his correspondent ; and, in fact, the 
public were often in possession of the letter before his friend. The 
bearer of an elegantly-written epistle, well knew that he should 
flatter the vanity of the writer by communicating it ; and he there- 
fore often openly read it, and even gave copies of it, before it 
reached its destination. We find, in his correspondence, that 
several letters were lost in consequence of their too great fame. 

It is difficult to say, whether the extended reputation which 
Petrarch enjoyed, during the course of a long life, is more glo- 
rious to himself, or to his age. We have elsewhere mentioned 
the faults of this celebrated man ; that subtlety of intellect which 
frequently led him to neglect true feeling, and to abandon himself 
to a false taste ; and that vanity which too often induced him to call 
himself the friend of cruel and contemptible princes, because 
they flattered him. But, before we part with him, let us once 
more take a view of those great qualities which rendered him the 
first man of his age ; that ardent love for science, to which he 
consecrated his life, his powers, and his faculties ; and that glorious 
enthusiasm for all that is high and noble in the poetry, the elo- 
quence, the laws, and the manners of antiquity. This enthusiasm 
is the mark of a superior mind. To such a mind, the hero becomes 
greater by being contemplated ; while a narrow and sterile intel- 
lect reduces the greatest men to its own level, and measures them 
by its own standard. This enthusiasm was felt by Petrarch, not 
only for distinguished men, but for every thing that is great in na- 
ture, for religion, for philosophy, for. patriotism, and for freedom. 
He was the friend and patron of the unfortunate Rienzi, who, in 


or THE ITAUAHS. 229 

the fourteenth centnry, awakened for a moment the ancient «pîrit 
and fortunes of Rome. He appreciated the fine arts as well as 
poetry ; and he contributed to make the Romans acquainted with 
the rich monaments of antiqaity, as well as with the manascripts, 
which they possessed* His passions were tinctnred with a sense 
of religion which induced him to worship all the glorious works of 
the Deity, with which the earth abounds ; and he believed, that 
ID the woman whom he Toyed, he saw the messenger of that 
Heaven, which thus revealed to him its beauty. He enabled hia 
contemporaries to estimate the full value of the purity of a pas- 
sion, so modest and so religious as his own ; while, to his country- 
men, he gave a language worthy of rivalling those of Greece and 
of Rome, with which, by his means, they had become familiar. 
Softening lAd omahnenting his own language by the adoption of 
proper rules, he suited it to the expression of every feeling, and 
changed in some degree its essence. He inspired his age with 
that enthusiastic love for the beauty, and that veneration for the 
study of antiqaity, which gave it a new character, and which de-" 
termined that of succeeding timefl* It was, it may be said, in the 
name of grateful Europe, that Petrarch, on the eighth of April, 
2341, was crowned by the senator of Rome, in the Capitol; and 
this triumph, the most glorious, which was ever decreed to man, 
was not disproportioned to the authority which thia great poet 
was destined to maintain over future ages. 


Boccaccio.— ItaUan litentnre, at the eloie of {he Fourteeiith, and during; the 

Fifteenth Centnxy. 

The fourteenth century forms a brilliant era in Italian litera- 
tare, highly honourable to the human intellect, and is distinguished, 
beyond any other period, for the creative powers of genius which 
it exhibited. The germ of literature also existed in other coun- 
tries. The poetry of this epoch which has survived to us, pos- 
sesses a charm, derived from the dawn of civilization, in its no- 
velty, vigour, and freshness of imagination ; bat it belongs rather 
to the age which gave it birth than to any individual. The songs 
of the South of France, the chivalrous tales ot^ the North of £u- 
I'ope, the romances of Spain, and the pastorals of Portugal, bear a 
national character, which pleasingly reminds us of the spirit and 
manners of the time ; but they do not strike us as the work of a 
powerful genius, nor awake in us attachment to any individual 
poet. It was not thus with Italy. The culture of the mind was, 



at l«Mt, a§ far adtaaced there, aa to France and Spaki ; bot in 4he 
midat of their mimerous contemporaries, three writers, who, each 
in his own sphere, gafe a new impnlse to their native tongae, 
were especially remarkable: These men afforded models which 
were anieatly followed in other countries, and rmsed to them- 
selves memorials which the most distant posterity will regard with 
delight. At the opening of this century, Dante gave to Europe 
his great poem ; the first which, since the dawn of letters, coiàd 
bear a comparison with the ancient epic. The lyric muse agaiq 
fltrung her lyre at the call of Petrarch ; and Boccaccio was the 
creator x>f a style of prose, harmonious, flexible, and engaging, and 
alike suitable to the roost elevated and to the most playful sub- 
jects. The last mentioned member of this illustrious triumvirate 
cannot, indeed, be ranked so high as his two contemporaries, 
aiace the prose style, of which he was the author, is not of so ekr 
rated a class as the efforts of the muse, and the formation of the 
language of common life seems less to require the l^her powers 
of genius. His chief work, moreover, fs sullied by immorality; 
and (he eloquence of his expreseioa is too frequently allied to am 
improper levity. Yet that energy of mind whicb enabled htm 
to give birth to a style of prose at once so pure, so elegant, and 
io harmonious, when no model for it existed either in the Italian, 
or in any other language of the age, is not leas deservii^ of achni- 
ration, Uian those inspirations of genius which awoke and gave 
rules to the higher strains of poetry. 

Giovanni Boccaccio was born at- Paris, in 1313, and was the na- 
tural son of a merchant of Florence, himself born at Gertaldo, a 
castle in the Val d'Eisa, in the Florentine territory. His father 
had intended him for a commercial life, but before devoting him 
to it, indulged him with a literary education. From his earliest 
years, Boccaccio evinced a decided predilection for letters. He 
wrote verses, and manifested an extreme aversion to trade. He 
revolted equally at the prospect of a commercial life, and the 
study of the canon law, whicb his father was desirous of his un- 
dertaking. To oblige his father, however, he made several 
journeys of business ; but he brought back with him, instead of 
a love for his employment, a more extended information, and an 
increased passion for study. He at length obtained permission 
to devote himself wholly to literature, and fixed on Naples as his 
place of residence, where letters then flourished un^er thé power- 
ful protection of Robert, the reigning monarch.. He was quickly 
initiated in all the sciences at that time taught. He acquired also 
the rudiments of the Greek tongue, which, though then spoken 
in Calabria, was an abstruse study with the early scholars. In 
1341, he assisted at the celebrated examination of^Petrarch, which 
]preceded his coronation at Rome; and, from that time, a friend- 
ship arose between him and the poet, which terminated only with 
their lives. At this period, Boccaccio, distinguished no leas for 
the elegance of his person than for the brilliancy of hia wit, and 



devoted to pteiMi^s, fomed a» «ttachmeot to « natond d«li^lit«r 
of Kiog Robert, aBmed Mari», who for ceTeial year» had been die 
wife of a Neapolitan gentleman. Thk lady he hai celebrated ia 
bis writiogB» aoder the name of Fiammetta. ia the attachment of 
Boccaccio, we must not look for that parity or delicacy which dit- 
tiagoiihed Petrarch in bis love for Laura. This princess had 
been brought up in the most corrupt court of italy ; she herself 
partook of its spirit, and it is to her depraved taste that the ex- 
ceptionable parts of the Decameron, a work undertaken by Boc- 
caccio in compliance with iier request, and for her amusement» 
are to be attribiked. On his side, Boccaccio probably loved lier 
as much from vanity as from real passion ; for, although dtstin* 
gidshed lor her beauty, her grace, and lier wit, aa much as for 
her rank, she does not seem to have exercised any extraordinary 
influence on his life ; and neither the conduct nor the writings of 
Boccaccio afford evidence of a sincere or profound attachment. 
Boccaccio qmtted Naples in 1343, to return to Florence. «He 
came back again in 1344» and returned for the last time in 1360* 
From that year, he fixed himself in hik native country, where hit 
reputation had idready assigned htm a distinguished rank. Hie 
life was thenceforth occupied by his public employments in seve* 
lal embassies; by the duties whieh his increasing friendship to 
Petrarch imposed on him; and by the conétant and indefatigable 
labours to which he devoted himself for the advancement of let- 
ters, the discovery of ancient manuscripts» the elucidation of sub» 
jects of antiquity, the ii^odoation of the Greek language into 
Italy, and the composition of his numerous works. After taking 
tke ecclesiafltical habit, in 1361, he died at Gertaldo, inlhe man- 
sion of his ancestors, on the twenty-first of December» 1376, at 
tbe age of sixty-two. ' 

The Decameron, the work to whilli Boccaccio is at the present 
day indebted for his highest celebrity, is a collection of one hun- 
dred Novels or Tales. He has ingeniously united them, under 
the supposition of a party formed in the dreadful pestilence of 
1348, composed of a number of cavaliers, and young, intelligent, 
and accomplished women, retired to a delightful part of tlie coun- 
try, to escape the contagion. It was there agreed that each per- 
soo, during the space of ten days, should narrate, daily, a fresh 
story. The company consisted of ten persons, and thus the num- 
ber of stories amounted to one huodr^. The description of the 
eachantkig country in the neighbourhood of Florence, where 
^ese gay recluses had established themselves ; the record of 
their walks, their numerous /ete», and tbeir repasts, afforded Boc* 
caccio an opportunity of displaying all the treasures of his powers 
fcl and easy pen. Tfac^e stories, which are varied with infinite 
art, as well in subject as in style, from the most pathetic and ten- 
der to the moat sportive, and, unfortunately, the most licentious, 
exhibit a wonderful powmr of narration ; and his description of 
the plague in Florence, which serves as an introduction (o tbem, 

aSi ON tBfi LlTEtlAVUHt: 

may be ranked with the most celebrated histoncdl description^ 
which have descended to ns. The perfect truth of colouring ; the 
eiqaisite choice of circumstances, calculated to produce the 
deepest impression, and which place before our eyes the most 
repulsive scenes, without exciting disgust; and the emotion of 
the writer, which insensibly pervades every part, give to this 
picture that true eloquence of history which, in Thucydides, ani- 
mates the relation of the plague- in Athens. Boccaccio had, 
doubtless, this model before his eyes ; but the events, to which 
he was a witness, had vividly impressed his mind, and it was the 
faithful delineation of what he had seen, rather than the classical 
imitation, which served to develope his talent. 

One cannot but pause in astonishment, at the choice of so 
gloomy an introduction to effusions of so gay a nature. We are 
amazed at such an intoxicated enjoyment of life, under the threat- 
ened approach of death ; at such irrepressible desire in the bosom 
of man to divert the mind from sorrow ; and at the torrent of 
mirth which inundates the heart, in the. midst of horrors which 
should seem to wither it up. As long as we feel delight in nou- 
rishing feelings that are in unison with a melancholy temperament, 
we have not yet felt the overwhelming weight of real sorrow. 
When experience has, at length, taught us the substantial griefs of 
life, we then first learn the necessity of resisting them ; and, call- 
ing the imagination to our aid, to turn aside the shafts of calamity, 
we struggle with our soitow, and treat it as an invalid, from whom 
we withdraw every object which n^iy remind him of the cause of 
his n^alady. With regard to the stories themselves^ it would be 
difficult to convey an idea of them by extracts, and impossible to 
preserve, in a translation, the merits of their style. The praise 
of Boccaccio consists in the perfect purity of his language, in his 
elegance, his grace, and, above all, in that naivetéy which is the 
chief merit of narration, and the peculiar charm of the ItaliaQ 
tongue. Unfortunately, Boccaccio did not prescribe to himself 
the same purity in his images as in his phraseology. The cha* 
racter of his work is light and sportive. He has inserted in it a 
great number of tales of gallantry ; he has exhausted his powers 
of ridicule on the duped husband, on the dejn'aved and depraving 
monks, and on subjects in morals and religious worship, which he 
himself regarded as sacred ; and his reputation is thus little in 
harmony with the real tenor of his conduct. The Depameron 
was published towards the middle of the fourteenth century (in 
1352 or 1363,) when Boccaccio was at least thirty-nine years of 
age ; and from the first discovery of printing, was freely circulated 
in Italy, until tlie council of Trent proscribed it, in the middle ^f 
the sixteenth century. At the solicitation of the Grand Duke of 
Tuscany, and after two remarkable negotiations between this 
Prince and Popes Pius V. and Sixtus V., the Decameron was 
again published, in 1573 and 1682, puriied and corrected. 

Many of the tales of Boccaccio appear to be borrowed firom 

fopi ar McitriMa» or beantal ocowrmiGts. We trace Ibe ori" 

fkudi of «eTftffti, ie ^lè mtÔBfakFreachfaUiamK ; of tome, io the 

IMitti ooflectioa of the Gnu» /fndii^ wd of etben, i«eiQ, io an 

iiidiui ifOMMce, Irhidi patted titfeegh ett the kagtiaget of the 

£eBt, end of whieë a i<alitt trtnthitioa eppeered at early at the 

lipdfth mJmtmtf'y mderth» aame bf Dd^pmtkûÊ^ or the King and 

tbtt %mmk /Wke Men» 'investion, in thit cl^tt of writing, it not 

lett rare then in ererj other; and theiUHne tales, probably, which 

Beeeacei» hifd eoiieeled hi the gay conrts of princct, or in the 

«pnilva of ^ oiliea ef italy^ hinre been repeated to ut anew in 

all 4iie nriont laBgvaget<€ Earope. They have been Teraified 

bfihe eariy poelt of France end England, aod have afforded re^ 

pétation I» .^ree or finir intitatort of Boccaccio^ Bat» if BoGcac« 

eioeabaot bénit of being the inventor of thete talea, he nay ttili 

tMmihm nrèetionef thit data of lettert. Belere hia time, talea 

w«i% eaiy ^tviij^ectt ef tocial mirth* He wet the firtt to traotpoit 

thew »isèo tin world of Mten ^ end by the elq^ance of hia diction, 

thejuatvhaamwiy of «11 'the partt of his snbject, and the «harm of 

hia nwir Ileal! , he anpemdded^tlie'more refined gratificationt of 

iaaifnngn And wf aiA, to the atmpier d^ht «iefded by the old 

-A ^^rentnttoe lef Bocisiwoio, cniled the FiamMUa^ is, «fter the 
^Maêi» th^émi^Mlèbfntèd^f hit werks. Boccaccio nay be con* 
tii eni d nntlf^»mt«r <ef the lovm romancet. Thit tpeciet of 
fi^ u O itien wMÉ wheWy etiknowé to antiquity. The Byznntine 
t hrt tee tf j ^ j pes te ai e d «eeeee romances, which here ttoce 
'«1^; 'Ml tbOM ia no reason to t^ekere that Boccaccio had 
ttelli, ndr, if ^he had been «cqaahited with them^ is it 
pp iJ Mliiu ^êittit hte w <»nl d hàl^w tmilated works of iatagmaliopy in« 
mmèd e«^i«éig«Éter the daeine of literatnre. The chiralric ro- 
mancée of the PMnch, of which we have spoken, had, it it true, a 
rwwmmiuu O^lh^het ckM of which Boccaocio may he contidet«|d 
the creator. Bet instead of having recourse to flaervellont mci- 
dtiÉiy wlMcil might (tngage tbe imagination, he has drawn his 
rennmés ^pèih' tfae^nman heait' and paasioo?. Fttiametta it a 
■oWe^imiy k>( Miplet, who relalet her paatioe and her etiâerings. 
8he'speaɫ id her own person, and the aothor himself never ap- 
pears. 9à^ tncidetftt are little varied, and they M off, instead 
o f i M eeeee lpg>i>'itotereat, towards 'the concHision. Bat the paasioti 
is èxprenoiidl wiA afervoer and a volaptoousnesa, beyond that of 
«ay other Italido writer. We feel tiAfit Fiàmmetta is consnmed 
hy theilhirtr ithfrrhuhr dfnilgrB j and although not in any way 
aKied > le ^htadrav that character recers to our reéolleetion. In 

^CHMt Vimis^oaC estière Alt proie attséhée.^ 

Bèecnocî»' w«t nccnateaaed to repvesent, under the name of 
MMnetta, the Princess Marfai, the object of his love. The 
Vol. L 30 ' 


scene, which is laid at Naples, the taak of the laAy, and ttaay 
other cireumstances, would lead us to bdieve, that in ÛM ro* 
mance, Boccaccio has in some measure related his mmù. adventetea* 
But, ID this case, it is remaritahle, that he should assign the dilcf 
part to the ladj '; that he should paint the passionate lore of Fi* 
ammetta, and the infidelity of PcUifilo, in a work d o dit a t a . d to his 
mistress ; and that he should reveal to the poUic, adrenteMt on 
which his honour and hisdife might dep^id. 

The conversations in the Fiamnietta mi^, perhaps, he ceasfc- 
dered tedious ; and we are fatigued hy the scholastie mode oi iea^ 
soning of the interlocutors, who are never diqtoaed to telioquidi 
an argument. The style is in reality dull ; but tfaiawlan necea^ 
sary consequence of the education and pedratry in repute at the 
tim^ of its composition. Another, and a miore.sittgttkir defect in 
this romance, arises from the iocongruous miitore of cheaneieftt 
mythology with the Christian reltgion. Fiammelta» who had' 
Panfilo for the first time at mass, in a Catholic church, ia 
mined, by Venus appearing to her, to liitèn to his pasaiott ; and; 
during the whole recital, the manners and behefof the ^andenis 
and modems are continuidly intermixed. We vemark thia iacMi* 
gruity in the romancies and the fabliaux of the middle agB8»'OnFaU 
occasions when the Trowfèreà have attempted the>mmHiM»t>f iin- 
tiquity. As these ignorant authors could «ot fem^anidia- oi any 
other mode of manoisrs than that of their own age^ they hm^ ^viMi 
an air of Christianity to all which they hat» hosmwed fesm 
ancient mythology. But the seènlars who reatoiM -the atarij ef 
the classics» with Boccaccio at their head»4te<Éeri : the : ewl^t 
difierently. It was to the gods of antiquity ^bat they attnbiited 
life, power, and energy. Accustomed to eonfiiie thour admii^itieB 
to the ancient classics, they always recurred to the^eeiof dwiff 
studies, and to the images and machinery to whieli^thej wttce 
habituated, even in works which were founded on iihe- warmsnt 
feelings of the heart. 

Boccaccio was the author, also» of another rcmiteca, longer 
than the Fiammetta, and more g^yierally known, entiUJkd Fihcop»* 
In this, are narrated the adventures of.Fiorio and Binnoaiste» 
the heroes of an ancient chivalric romance, which Boecaocio ims 
merely remodelled» The mixture of the aneieiit mytbnlogy wiih 
Christianity seems, there» to be effected m a more.eysteniatio 
manner than in the Fiammetta. Boccaccio speaks alwafs of the 
religion of the moderns in the terms of the am^enls. In sdlnÀi^ 
to the war between Manfred of Sicily and Cbariea of Aojon» he 
represents the Pope as high priest of Juno, and imoginea. hiiii to 
be instigated by that goddess, who thus newngea beraelf en the 
last descendants of the emperors, for the ancient wrong which 
Dido suffered. He afterwards speaks of the iacamatioa of the 
son of Jupiter, and of his descending to the earth to reform and 
redeem it. He even addresses a prayer to Jupileri and» m aJhort, 
seems determined to confound the two religions, and f^ fvove 


thdttfteyare, infact, tbe same worship, under different names. 
It may be doubted, whether fastidiousness might lead Boccaccio 
to beltere that he ought not to employ, in a work of taste, names 
whicfh were unknown to the writers of the Augustan age ; or 
^ether, on the contrary, a religious scruple, still more eccentric, 
forbade him to mingle the name of the Deity, with the tales of 
his own invention. In either case, this system of poetical religion 
« not less extraordinary than profane. There are, in the Filo- 
copo, many more adventures, and a greater variety of incident, 
but less passiofi than in the Fiammetta. The perusal is sometimes 
rendered fatiguing, by the pains which Boccaccio has taken to 
make the style harmonious, and to round his periods ; and thw 
measured prose betrays a laboured and sometimes an affected 

- Boccaccio has also left two heroic poems, I,a Tlf^eteic/e and Filo- 
^f9Ao^ neither of which has obtained any great reputation, and 
both are, at the present day, nearly forgotten. They deserve, 
however, to be mentioned, as being the first attempts at the ancient 
epic, since the fall of the Roman empire. Petrarch, it is true, 
had, in his Latin poem of Africay attempted to rival ^^irgil ; btft 
he did little more than clothe an historical narration in frigid hex-, 
ameters, nor has he invested his subject with any other poetic 
charm than that which arises from the regularity of the verse. 
Boccaccio, on the contrary, was sensible that a powerful imagi- 
nation and feeling were essential to^the epic. But he overreached 
his mark, and composed romances rather than poems ; although, 
even here, he opened to bis successors the route which they 
were to follow^ 

These two poems of Boccaccio, in another point of view, form 
^a era in the history of epic poetry. They are both composed 
in o(<ava rtma, or in thai kind of stanza of eight lines, which has 
since been employed by all the epic poets of Italy, Spain, and 
Portugal. Of this, Boccaccio was the inventor. He fouud that 
the itrza rima^ employed by Dante, imposed too great a constraint ' 
OQ the poet, and, by its close texture, held the attention of the 
reader too long suspended. All the other forms of versification 
were appropriated to the* lyric muse ; and any verses which' 
were not submitted to a regular structure, did not seem sufficiently 
poetical to the refined ears of the Italians. The stanza which 
Boccaccio invented, is composed of six lines, which rhyme inter- ' 
changeably with each other, and are followed by a couplet. 
7here exist instances of the octave verse before his time, but 
under a different fimn.'^ 

* We find, in the earlier poetry of the Sicilians, stanzas of einffat verses, 
^ith only two rbymes, alternately employed. As early as the thirteenth 
century, the Gastilian writers made use of the octave stanza, with three 
rhymes ; and a remarkable work of Alfonso the Tenth, King of Castile, to 

296 9^ mi^ MTSHAVUKS^ 

The Latin compositions of Boccaccio are Yolominoos» and 9Mt^ 
teriallj contributed, at tbe tine tbej were «rittea» to» thu^ a4^ 
vancement of letted. The woMi celebrated of these «orka„are 
two Treatises ; the one on tbe Genealogy of the Gods, ai^ tbe 
other on mountains, forests, and rivers, lathe first, he. cave, aa 
exposition of the ancient mythology ; aad in the second, rectiiaei) 
many errors in geography. These two works have âdUen v^t» 
neglect, since the discovery of manuscripts then onknoifii^ and in 
conséquence of tbe facilities which the art of printing, b^ opemog 
new sources, has afforded to the study of antiquity. In the sge 
in which they were composed, they were, however« eqoaUy re- 
markable for their eztenshre information and for the clearness of 
their arrangement ; but the style is by no means so pure and ele- 
gant as that of Petrarch. 


which we shaH haT« oecasioa a^tn to rtfer, ii «ritleii io this ttetie. 
staasas oC eight Unes are eonposed of two disftiiKt ataaaas of fowr liae» 0Hlk» 
aad the diatrihutioo of the rhyoiee may be thus denoted : 1, % à, 1 ; hh^ 
1. The stanza inrented by Boccaccio, and which was adopted even iaCastilei 
runs thus : 1, 2 ; 1, 8 ; 1, 2 ; 3^ 3. As a specimen of this sort of verse, aad 
of the style'of Boccaccio, the commeneemeat of L» TtoeMs i» saljolMd» 

O Sorelle Castalie, che nel laonte 
Elacona contente dimorate, 
D^torno a! sagf^o Goi^oneo fooiè, 
Sotto esso Pombra delle frondl asata 
Da Febo, dalle quail aaeor la fironte 
Spero d' omarmi, sol che '1 concediate, 
Le sante orecchie a miei preghi porgete, 
£ quelli udite come Toi dorete. 

W m' e venuta TogUa, con pietosa 
Bima, di scriTcre una storia antica, 
Tanto negli anni riposta e nascosa 
Ghe latin autor no» par ebe ae diea, . 
Per quel chHo st nta, aJ liUwo akoaa ciisa» 
Dunque si fate, che la mia fotica 
Sia gratiosa a chi ne fia lèttore, 
in altra maniera ascoltatore. 

Siate presenti, o Marte ru^condo 1 

^elle tue armi rigido e féroce^ 

£ tu, madré d* amor, col tuo giocOndo 

S Heto aspetto, e 1 tuo figKoi reloce, 

Co dardi sol poaeente à tutsto ^ mondo ; 

£ softenete la mano e la voce 

Di me, ch' entende e Tostri aflfetti dire, 

Con poco bene e pien d'essai martire. 

And you, sweet sisters I who delight to dwell 
Amid the quiet haunts of Castaly, 
Playing beside the brink of that ihmed welt, 
Apd by the fount where springs the sacred tree 
BeloT'd by you, and him, the god, whose shell 
Resounds its praise ; whose honoured leares shali l)e, 
So let me dream I a poet's meed : hear 
His ardent prayer, if prayers to you be dear. 

Ba<» wittle th« d«iai to criebrUy, i» th«M Ktr^tt ineD» is re- 
fMctad to the lt«ymi p«eiry of Petrarch and to the noTeU q[ 
Beceaceto, maw gmlHade to them it foqoded oo stronger groaods. 
They felt mere aciMibly than any other meo, that enthasiatm for 
the beaaties of antiquity, without which we io vain strive to ap* 
froeiete ite treeaaree; eed they each devoted a ioog and Ubo- 
tioua life to the discovery aed the stody of aocient saaniiscripts. 
The most vahied works ^ the ancients were at that time boried 
aoMMig the archives ixf eoovents, scattered at great distances, i^* 
correct and incomplete, withoei tables of contents or marginal 
notée. Nor did those resoerces then exist, which printing sup- 
pliée, for the perusal of works with which we are not £uniliar ; 
and the facilities which are afforded by previous stody, or the 
collatioii of the originals with each other, were equally wanting. 
It must hav« required a powerful intellect to discover, in a manu- 
seripl of Cicero» Ant example, without title or commencement, the 
lull meaning of the author, the period at which he wrote, and 
eUier ciecumstances, which are coooeçted with his subject; to 
eervect the. munerous evors of the copyists ; to supply the 
ehaamsy which, frequently occurring at the beginning and the 
end, left neither title nor divisions nor conclusions, nor any thing 
that might serve as a chie fer the perusal ; in short, to determine 
bow one manuscript, discovered at Heidelberg, should perfect 
another, discovered at Naples. It was, in iect, by long and pain- 
ful jeumeye, that the scholars of those diiys accomplished them* 
selves for thie task. The copying a maniMçript, with the neces- 

For Lof •'• sake, wsold I tell the piteoas pain. 
The 9a4 turns of b, wild and ancient story, 
Long hidden 'neath the Teil of time, in ndn 
Soa^t for in Eeiaan lore, or reeorde hoaiy 
Of fur-oifyeaie. O heip ny feeble strain. 
That 80 it breathe some spark of .Iqts's own glory. 
And crown my ardent toils with pleasant rest. 
And solace to each listener's troubled breasti 

^or let the martial god be diHaat far, 
In hâi etera panoply of proof dmne ! 
Thou, Yenas ! beaming like thy fa^'rite star, 
With joyous looks, and eyes that warmly shine, 
And thoa, her son» nctor in amorous war I 
Streagthea my hand In ttis my high desigB, 
And swell the Toiee that pours young pawion's sighs,. 
And bitterest tears, with too few ecstasies ! 

£s Themdfi wa» imitated by Chaucer, the fkther of English poetry. When 
the lapse of tine had rendered his work almost uainlelligible to the generally 
of readers, Di^dea reproduced It in his poem of Pdmm Ên4 JÊrcUt, wlueli 
was waU raoelved, , H 4Hiet b^ confessed, howeyer, that aie exaggerated pas- 
ôoas, improbable inci^epts^ sod long tiresome descriptions of thisfable, render 
the perusal of the original, and of the imitations, equally difficult. 



sary degree of accuracy, wai à work of grsat labour and eiipeose* 
A collection of three or fbor haodred frôlâmes was, at thattîme» 
coosidered an extensire library ; and a scholar was frequently 
compelled to seek, at a great distance, the comfiletion of a work, 
commenced ander his own roof. 

Petrarch and Boccaccio, in their frequent travels, obtained co« 
pies of such classics as they found in their route. Among e.ther 
objects, Petrarch proposed to himself to collect all the works of 
Cicero ; in which he succeeded after a lapse of many years. 
Boccaccio, with a true loy^ of letters, introduced the study of the 
Greek to the Italians, not only with the view of securing the in- 
terests of commerce or of science, but of enrichmg their minds, 
and extending their researches to the other half of the ancient 
world of letters, which had, till then, remained hidden from his 
contemporaries. He founded, in Florence, a chair for the teach- 
ing of the Greek language ; and he himself invited thither,- and 
installed as professor, Leontius Pilatus, one of the most learned 
Greeks of Constantinople. He received him into his own house, al- 
though he was a man of a morose and disagreeable temper ; placed 
him at his table, as long as this professor could be induced to re- 
main at Florence ; inscribed himself among the first of his scho- 
lars, and procured at his own' expense, from Greece, the manu- 
scripts, which were thus distributed in Florence, and which served 
as subjects for the lectures of Leontius Pilatus. For the hsstruc- 
tion of those days consisted in the public delivery of lectures with - 
commentaries ; and a book, of which there, perhaps, existed only 
a single copy, sufficed for some thousand scholars. 

There is an infinite space between the three great men whose 
works we have just enumerated, and even the most esteemed of 
their contemporaries ; and, though these latter have preserved, 
until the present day, a considerable reputation, yet we shall only 
pause to notice thçlr existence, and the epoch to which they be- 
long. Perhaps the most remarkable are the three Florentine 
historians of the name of Villanf. Giovanni, the eldest, who died 
in the first plague, in 1348 ; Matteo, his brother, who died in the 
second plague, in 1361 ; and Filippo, the son of Matteo, who 
continueid the work of his father to the year 1364, and who wrote 
a history of the literature of Florence, the first attempt of this 
kind, in modem times. But it is in another work that I have ren- 
dered homage to these three celebrated men, who were, for more 
than a century, my faithful guides In the history of Italy, and who, 
by their candour, patriotism, and ancient frankness, by their at- 
tachment to the cause of virtue and of freedom, and to all that is 
ennobling in man, have inspired me with so much personal afiec- 
tion, that in taking leave of them to prosecute, without their fur- 
ther aid, my dangerous voyage, I felt as if bidding to my 
own friends. Two poets of this age, shared with Petrarch the 
honours of a poetic coronation : Zanobi di Strada, whom the Em- 
peror Charles IV. crowned at Pisa, in 1355, with great pomp,'but 


whose verses have not reached as ; and Colaccio Salotati» secM« 
tary of (be Fiorea^ne republic, ooe of the parest LatinistSi and 
most éloquent statesaMn whom Italy in that age prodnced. The 
latter, indeed^ did not lifre to enjoy the honour which had been 
accorded him by the Emperor, at the request of the Fiorentinei. 
CoIoGcio died in 1406, at the age of eeventy-tix, before the day 
appointed ibr his coronation, and the symbol of glory was depo- 
sited on his tomb ; as, at a subséquent period, a far more illustrious 
i^ovrn was pkeed on the tomb of Tasso. 

Of tbe prose writers of Tuscaoy, Franco Saccfaetti, bom at 
Florence about tbe year 1836, and who died before the end of 
the century, after- filling some af the first offices in the republic, 
s^pHfOfliches tbe nearest to Boccaccio. He imitated Boccaccio in 
his novels, and Petraroh in his lyric poems ; but the latter were 
never printed, while of bis tales there have been several editions. 
Whatever praise be dne to the purity and eloquence of his style, 
we find his pages more valuable, as a history of the manners of 
the a^^ than attractive lor tbeir powers of amusement, even 
when the author thinks htttiself most successful. His two hun* 
dred and Qfty>eight tales, consist» ahnost entirely, of the incidknts 
of his own time, and of his own ne%hbourhood ; domestic anec« 
doles, which in general contain little humour ; tncks, exhibiting 
U^e skill, and jests a£ little point ; and we are often surprised to 
find a iHToiiMsed jester vanquilfaed by the smart reply of a child or 
a down, which scarcely deserves our attention. After reading 
these taleS) we cannot help concluding that the art of oonvena** 
tion had not made, in the fourteenth oentury, an equal progress 
with the other arts ; and that the great men, to whom we owe so 
laany excellent works, were not so entertaining in the social in* 
tercourse of life, as many persona greatly their inferiors in merit. 

Two poets of this time, of some celebrity, chose Dante for their 
model, and composed after him, in terza rtma, long allegories, 
partly descripâve, partly scientific. Fazio de' Uberti in his 
DeiHtmando^ undertook the description of the universe, of which 
the different parts, personified in turns, relate their history. Fe« 
d^rtgo Frezzi, Bishop of Foligno, who died in 1416, at the coun* 
cil ot Constance, has, in his QnadrtVe^to, described the four em* 
pires of love, satao, virtue, and vice. In both of these poete we 
nieei, occasionally, with lines not unworthy of Dante ; but they 
formed a verj false estimate of the works of genius, when they 
regarded the Divina Commedia not as an individual poem, but as 
a species of poietry which any one might attempt. 

The passionate study of tbe ancients, of which Petrarch and 
Boccaccio had given an example, suspended, in an extraordinary 
manner, the progress of Italian literature^ and retarded the per- 
fection of that tongue. Italy, after having produced her three 
leading ckssics, sunk, for a century, into inaction. In this period, 
iodeed, erudition made wonderful progress ; and knowledge be- 
came much more general, but sterile in its effects. The mind 


had prefenrcd all itf activity, and literary te» «U its splenâoiir ; 
bat the oniaterniittied «todj of the aoeieata htfd prednded all on- 
giaality io the. aatbors. lostead of perfeeliiig a new iabgnage, 
apd enrichitig it with works io unison with anodem «MBttera and 
ideas, they confined themselTes to a tenrile copy of the ancieiM. 
A too acmpiiloiis imitation thvs destroyed the spirit of iairoiition ; 
and the most eminent scholars may be said to hare produced, m 
their eloquent writings, little more than college themies. in pfo- 
portion as a man was qnalified by his rank, t>r by Ua talent», to 
•cqoire a name in Kteratare» he blashed to cnltivate bis mother 
tongoe. He almost, indeed, forced himself to fot|;et it, to avoid 
the danger of corrupting his Latin style : and the common people 
thas jremained the onl^ depositories of a language, which had tai- 
hibited so brilliant a dawn, and which had now again almost re- 
lapsed inCo bai^arism. 

The fifteenth century, so barren in Italian literatnre, was ne* 
yartheless, a highly literary period, in no other age, perhaps, 
was the lore ef study so uniTersal. Letten were powerfully sup- 
ported by princes and by their subjects. ÂH, who attaehed'' 
theamelves to literature, were assured of fiiane ; and the moiHi'- 
moots of the ancienttongoes, multiplied by the recently di s co f^ r ed J 
psess, exercised a great and lasting iiffluence on the h u as a n aoM. 
The sorereigns of Europe, at thw brilliant period, rested their 
glory on the protection aiSbrded to letters, on the clas ii cid educa- 
tion thev had themselres received, and on their iaHamte Imow- 
ledge of the Greek and Latin tongues. The popes^ who, in thé 
fnrecedsog times, had turned the whole weight of superstitloa 
against study, became, in the fifteenth ctentury, the most seidoas 
frieads and protectors, and the most munificent patrotis of mou if 
lettets. Two of theOi were themselves scholars of the first dis- 
tMGtioo*' Thomas di Sarzann, who was afterwards Hidiolaa V., 
(1447 to 1466,) and ^neas Sylvius, who Ofsumed the nateo of 
rios 11., (1468 to 1464,) after having rendered themssAves cele- 
brated, in the world of letters, for their ectraordinary endow- 
ments, were, in conséquence of their literary merit, raised to the 
chair of St. Peter. The dukes of Milan, the same men whom 
history represents to us as the disturbers andtyrantsof Lombardy, 
Filippo Maria, the last of the Visconti, and Francesco Sforza, the 
founder of a military monarchy, surrounded themselves, in their 
capital, with the most illustrious men in science and letters, and 
accorded to them the most generous remunerations, and employs 
of the first confidence. The discovery of an ancient manuscript 
was to them, as well as to their subjects, a cause of rejoicing ; and 
they interested themselres in questions of antiquity, and in philo- 
logical disputes, as well as in afiairs of state. 

Two sovereign princes of less powerful fimiilies, the Marquis 
Qonaaga, of Mantua, and the Marquis d'£ste, of Ferrara, endea- 
voured to supply what was wanting to them in powor, by tlieir 
active zeal and by the constant protection wMch they afforded to 



litentare. They sooglit for and collected together men of let- 
ters from everj part of Italy, and seemed to riyal each other in 
lavishing upon them the richest gifts and the most flattering dia- 
tioctioDS. To them they intrust^ eiclasirely the education of 
their children; and we should, prohahly, in the present day» 
search in ?ain, in oar most learned academies, for men who wrote 
Greek verse with so much elegance and purity as many of the 
princes of Mantua and Ferrara. At Florence, a wealthy mer« 
chant, Cosmo de' Medici, had acquired a degree of power which 
shook the constitution of the state;* and his descendants were 
destined to substitute, in that city, the will of an individuel for 
that of the people. Id the midst of his vast projects of ambition, 
master of the moneyed credit of Europe, and almost the equal 
of the fciop with whom he negotiated, Cosmo accorded, in his 
house, an asylum to all the men of learning and artists of the age, 
converted his gardens into an academy, and produced a revolution 
in philosophy, by substituting the authority of Plato for that of 
Aristotle. His banks, which were exteoded over all Europe, 
and to the Mahomedan states, were devoted to literature as well 
as to commerce. His agents, at the same time, collected manu- 
scripts and sold spices ; and the vessels, which arrived on his 
account from Constantinople, Alexandria, and Smyrna, in the seve- 
ral ports of Italy, were often laden with rich collections of Greek, 
Syrian, and Chaldean manuscripts. At the same time, Cosmo 
opened public libraries at Venice and at Florence. In the south 
of Italy, Alfonso V., a monarch of the race of Aragon, contended 
with the sovereigns of the northern states, of Italian descent, in 
his love of science. His secretaries, friends, and counsellors, 
consisted of men, whose names will always remain illustrious in 
the republic of letters ; and his reign is intimately connected with 
the literary history of Italy. The universities, which, two cen« 
tunes before, had flourished so highly, were, it is true, paralyzed 
by persisting in their ancient methods and errors, and in a scho- 
lastic philosophy, which dazzled the mind, but perverted the judg- 
iQent. . But all men, who had then acquired a name in literaturot 
Were accustomed to open a school, which, was often for them the 
path to fame, fortune, and office. The sovereigns of that age 
often chose for their ambassadors, or chancellors, the same indi- 
viduals who educated youth, or illustrated the ancients ; and the 
puhlic functions of these learned men interfered Î only for a short 
space of time, with the equally noble objects of instruction. The 
passion for obtaining books for the purpose of formii^ libraries, 
and the prodigious price attached to a fine copy of a manuscript, 
awoke a spirit of invention to multiply them. The art of print- 
ing was discovered at a moment, of ail others, when it waa most 
Wanted ; and to that necessity its invention may, in fact, be attri* 
^uted. At any other epoch, even in the days of the greatest pros- 
perity of Greece and of Rome, so great and uigent a necessity 
i ^Pf multiplying the copies of books was neyer experienced. At 
! Vol, L 31 


DO time, bad tii6 world possessed so consideraMe a miniber of 
manuscripts, which it was desirable to save from the deslrvctioir 
with which they seemed menaced. In no other time could the 
invention of printing have been rewarded with more munificeBce^ 
and been more rapidly extended* John Gnttembei^, of Meiitz, 
who was the first to employ moveable characters, mm 1450 to* 
1455, wished to htde the secret of his discovery, in order to en- 
sure to himself a greater profit. Biil,-in 1466» it was introdoeed 
into Italy, and in Î469 into Paris ; and, in a short time, those 
precious works, which were only attainable by infinite labour and 
expense, were multiplied by thousands, and placed within the 
reach of the public. 

The men who flourished at this period, and to whom we owe 
^e revival of Greek and Latin literature, the préservation and 
correction of all the monuments of antiauity, the knowledge of 
it» laws,.manner8, and customs, of its religion and ita language, do 
not properly belong to Italian literature ; and we shidi not make 
a point of describing, their writing?, their persons, or their lives, 
which were continually agitated by disputes. It will be sufficient 
to impress a few names on the memory of the reader, in gratitude 
for the eminent services which they have rendered to Europe, 
and in recollection of a species of glory which has passed away. 

John of Ravenna, who, in his youth, had been a pupil of Pe- 
trarch, already then in years, and who had received many benefita 
at hi» hands, insufficient, however, to triumph over his fickleneas 
of temper ; and Emanuel Chrysoloras, a learned Greek, who- 
came as ambassador into Italy, to implore succour i^aiiist the 
Turks, and who was eventually detoined in that country bv the 
zeal with which his lectures were attended, were the two teaeheni, 
who, at the close of the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteefl& 
century, communicated to Ital^ a passion for the study of CSreek 
letters, and who, sdmost alone gave rise to that constellntion of 
learned men who illuminated the fifteenth eentury. jkmong these 
may be mentkmed Guarino Veronese, (1370-1460,) oneestor of 
the author of the Pastor Fido, and the progenitor of a race whoOy 
devoted to letters. He commenced his study of Greek at Con* 
stantinople, and brought from thence, on his return, two case» oF 
Greek manuscripts, the fruit of his indefatigable researches. One 
of these was lost at sea, on the shipwreck of the vessel ; and tlie 
chagrin at losing such a literary treasure, acquired by ao mocli' 
labour, had the effect of turning the hair of Guarino gray, in one 
night. He was tutor to Lionel, Marquis of Este, the most beloTed 
and the most liberal of the sovereigns of Ferrara. He wm ako 
interpreter for the Greeks, at the Cooneite of Ferrara and Flo* 
rence : but these distinguished occupations did not divert him from- 
his task of instruction, and he continued his lectures at Fexrara 
to the age of ninety. His principal works consist of tronsltttiona^ 
from the Greek, and commentaries on the writings of the ancients. 

Giovanni Aurispa, a SiciKan, born in 1369, and who died in 1460, 


&lloir«d ilEm same career at OaariDo, through Ihe coane of aa 
equally long life, ted with the Mme snccess. Like him, he com- 
meaced his studies in Greece* aod broaght haclc with him to Ve- 
nice two hundred and thirty manuscripts, containing the works of 
many distinguished writers of ^antiquity, which would have been 
otherwise lost. For a long time, he gave lectures in Florence, 
Ferrara, and Rome» where he was apostolic secretary, and again 
at Ferrara, where be died. There remain of him some transla- 
tions in Greek and Latin, some letters, and some Italian poetry ; 
but ft was to his instructions, more particularly, smd to his zeal 
fi>r study, that he owed the great influence which he obtained oyer 
his age, aod the celebrity deservêdfy attached to his name. 

Ambrogto Traversarii (1386-1439,) a monk, who afterward be* 
oeme the head of the order of the Camaldoli, was one of the 
most illustrious pupils of Emanuel Chry soleras, a friend of Cosmo 
de' Medici, and one of the founded of the school of belles lettres 
and philosophy in Florence. He was coonected with all the dis- 
tinguished men of his age, and we derive much information re- 
spectftdg them from his letters.. He travelled from convent to con- 
vent, and took a leadii^ share in the political events xtf the age» 
^ the interests of the order of which he was the chief. But tibe 
cause c€ letters gained both by his journeys and by his correspon* 
deaee ; while be laboured to preserve or establish the' peace of 
the church» and of society in generali by his conciliatory spirit. 
The qnklneas aod benignity of his character were particularly va- 
luablOf at a time when the generality of scholars put no restraint 
on their violent tempers, and abandoned themselves to vindictive 
and onlarageoos qoarreb. 

The celebratcHi Lionardo Bruno d^Arezzo, better known under 
the name of Lionardo Aretino, (1369-1444,) was also a scholar of 
Emamoel Chrysoloras« He was apostolic secretary to four popes, 
and ultimately chancellor of the Florentine republic ; and was 
not Only one of the most learned, but abo one of the most amiable 
sen of the fifleentb century, equally dignified and respectable in 
morals and in manners. He has left, besides a number of trans- 
latioas in Greek and Latin, some letters aod Latin poems, and a 
history of Florence to the year 1404, written with correct judg- 
Mnt, and in an elegant and pure style, but with too evident an 
imitation of Livy. In consequence of this unreasonable fondness 
&r relating the events of modern times in the style of antiquity, 
the historians of the fiAeenth century deprived their works of all 
nature and originality. 

Poggto Bracciolioi (1380-1459) was the friend of Lionardo, and 
continued his history. He also was a pupil of John of Ravenna^ 
and of Emanuel Chrysoloras. From the year 1402, and during 
more than fiAy years, he was Writer of the apostolic letters ; an 
employ which brought him little fortune, but which did not re- 
quire Ua residence in Rome. Poggio was thus enabled to . travel 
frequently» not only in Italy» but in Germany, in France, and in 

â44 Olf ÎHE LITEtlATVlt& 

England. In his journeys, he discovered a great number of ma« 
nnscripts, in danger of perishing in the hands of the monks, who 
Were insensible of their valae, and who had banished them to the 
damp and obscure recesses of their convents. In this manner^ 
he redeemed for posterity the works of Qjaintilian, Valerius Flac-^ 
eus, Vitmvius, and others. He was tenderly attached to Cosmo 
de* Medici ; and, when that illustrious citizen was recalled to FIo« 
rence, he fixed his own residence there, in the year 1435. Flo^ 
rence, indeed, was his native place, but, until that period, he had 
always lived absent from it* He was appointed, in 1453, chan- 
cellor of the republic. Shortly afte)rward, he was elected into 
the number of the Priori delîe arti^ or presidents of the trading 
companies ; and he died, loaded with honours, in his native city, 
on the thirtieth of October, 1469. A monument was erected m 
bis memory in the church of Santa Croce, near those of other 
great men, who form the boast of Florence. 

Poggio was one of the most voluminous writers of his age^ and 
united a profound genius, philosophy, fervour of imagination, and 
eloquence, to the most extensive attainments. Next to his history 
of Florence, which extends from 1350 to 1455, and which is, per- 
haps, his best work, may be ranked many of his philoftophical 
dialogues and letters, in which the most noble and elevated senti* 
ments prevail. His memory, indeed, derives less honour from his 
too celebrated book of Facetiœ^ which he published in his seven- 
tieth year ; and in which, with a sarcastic gayety, he outrages, 
without restraint, all good manners and decorum. Nor are the 
numerous invectives, which, in his literary quarrels, he addressed 
to Francesco Filelfo, to Lorenzo Valla, to George of Trebizond, 
and to many others, less exceptionable. In an age when literature 
was confined to scholastic erudition, taste exercised on it little in- 
fluence. Society could not repress the malignant passions, nor 
could respect for the other sex inspire a sense of propriety. We 
are astonished and disgusted at the odious accusations, with whicli 
these scholastic champions attack each other ; reproaching their 
opponents with theft and fraud, poisonings and perjury, in the 
most opprobrious language. In order to justify an insolent and 
gross expression, they did not consider whether it were consistent 
With a due observance of decorum, but merely whether it were 
authorized by its pure Latinity ; and, in these calumnious asper- 
sions, they were much less solicitous about the^ruth or probability 
of their charges, than about the classical propriety of their vitu- 
perative epithets. 

The man, whose life was most agitated by these furious literary 
quarrels, was Francesco Filelfo (1398—1481,) the rival in repu- 
tation, and the declared enemy, of Poggio Bracciolini. Bom at 
Tolentino, in 1398, he early distinguished himself by his erudi- 
tion, and, at the age of eighteen, was appointed professor of elo- 
quence at Padua. He relinquished that situation to go to Constan- 
tinople, to perfect himself in the Greek language. He repaired 



thither, Ui 1420, wHh a dîplométic mitsîoii from the V«D«ti«it, tnd 
was afterward employed on others, to Amnrath II., and the Em* 
peror Sigismund. Having iparried a daaghter of John Chrysoloras» 
who was allied to the Imperial family of ihe Palœologi, this DoUe 
alliance intoxicated the mind of a man already too vain of hit 
knowledge, and who considered himself to he the first genius, not 
only of his own, hot of every age. On his retam to Italy, hia 
ostentatious disposition etposed him to numerous distreases, not* 
withstanding the liberality with which, in many cities, he was re- 
warded for his instructions. At the same time, the violence and 
asperity of his character procured him many bitter enemies. Not 
content with literary altercations, he interfered also in political 
disputes, althoogh, in these, he was not actuated by any noble 
ieehngs. He pretended that Cosmo de* Medici had twice in- 
tended his assassination, and he, in his torn, attempted the life of 
Cosmo. He published his invectives in all the cities of Italy, 
loading, with the heaviest accusations, the enemies whom he had 
drawn on himself After the death of his first wife, he married a 
second, and subsequently a third at Milan, where he resided a 
considerable time, at the court of the Sforza family. He died on 
the thirty-first of July, 1481, on his return to Florence, to which 
place he was recalled by Lorenzo de* Medici, hi the nidsl of 
these Continual disquiets, FileMb, however, laboured with iadefii- 
tigable activity for the advancement of literature. He left be- 
hind him a prodigious number of translations, dissertations, and 
philojgophical writings and letters : but he contributed still more 
to the progress of «tudy by his lectures, and by the treasures of 
his knowledge, which he displayed before four or five hundred 
scholars at a time, to whom he gave instruction on various subjects, 
four or five times repeated in the course of one day. 

Lorenzo Valla- is the last of these celebrated philologists whom 
we shall here notice. Born at Rome, at the close of the foorteenth 
century, he there completed his early studies. He was afterward 
professor of eloquence at Pavia, until about the year 1431, when 
be attached himself to Alfonso V. He opened, at Naples, a school 
of Greek and Roman eloquence ; but, not less irascible than Filelfo 
and Poggio, he engaged with them and others in violent disputes, 
of which the written invectives left us by these scholars form a 
lamentable proof. He composed many works, on history, criticism, 
dialectics, and moral philosophy. His two most celebrated pro- 
ductions are, a History of Ferdinand, King of Aragon, father of 
Alfonso, and' the ElegarUiœ Unguœ Latinœ. He died at Naples, 
m 1467. 

The attention of the literary men of the fifteenth century was 
wholly engrossed by the study of the dead languages, and of man- 
Bers, customs, and religious systems, equally extinct. The charm 
of reality was, of coarse, wanting to works which were the result 
of so much research and labour. All these men whom we have 
Boticed, and to whom we owe the discovery and preservation 


^ lo attij YâlatMe works, preieot lo our ohienratioii boondltti 
«roditioo, a jost sfUrit of critioiMp». and oice seoeibUtty to tiie 
baauticf aad defects of the gresl antbors of antiquity* Bat we 
kok ID rao for that troe eloqaeiicei which is inort the fruit of as 
kiler«oi»se with the world, than of a kooidedg^ of books ; and 
these philologiMs professed too bliad a veoeratioB for every thing 
belongiog to aatiquity , to point oat whsit was worthy of admiration, 
or to sel^t what was deserving of imitation. They were still aiore 
umiQCcessfttl in poetry» in which their attempts^ all in Latin, are 
ftw in oamber ; and their verses are harsh asîd heavy, withoat 
originality or vigoor* It was not antil the period when Italian 
poeCty began to be again cultivated, that Latin verse acquired any 
of the characteristics of genuine inspiration* ^ 

The first nsan to whom may » perbapsi be attributed the restora- 
liea of Ualiao poetry, was, at the sane tiaie, one of the greatest 
men of his own and succeedii^ i^s* This was Lorenzo de* 
Medici, chief of the Florentine republic^ and arbiterof the whde 
political stote of Italy (1448— I49S.) Lorenzo the Ms^^pificent 
had wittiea his first poems, before he was twenty years of age» 
A whole o^ntqiy had ^psed since Petrarch and Boccaocio, re- 
iie«acing fot^ts of love» had ceased to cultivate Itcdian verse; 
and, daring this 1oq|; Interval, no poet worthy of commeoioratio& 
bid appeared. Lorenzo had attempted to restore the poetry of 
his coontry, to. the state in which Petrarch had left it ; but this 
man, so superior by the greatness of his character, and by the 
uaiversalky of his genius, did not possess the talent of veraifioitkm 
iu the same degree as Petrarch* In his love verses, his sonnets, 
and c«iuofi», we find less sweetness and harmony* Their poetical 
colouring is less striking ; and it is remailKable, that they dispiay a 
Tuder expression, more nearfy allied to the infiuKy of the laqgusge* 
On the other hand, his ideas are more natural, and are often ac- 
companied by a great charm of imagînatioi|. We are pres€»ited 
with a iuccessioa of the most delightful rural pictures, and are 
surprised to find the statesman so conversant with country life* 
His works consist of one hundred and fer^ soimets, and about 
twenty caa^roaa, almost all composed in honour of Lucretla de' 
Donati. He has not, however, named her ; and he seems to have 
chosen her only as the object of a poetftoal passion, and as the 
subject of his verse* He has celebrated her with a purity not 
unworthy of Petrarch, and with a delicacy which wi» not always ob- 
served in his other attachments. Bot Lorenzo did not confine 
himself to lyrk poetry. He attempted M kinds, and asauifested 
in all, the versatility of bis talents and the exuberance of bis ima- 
g^ation. His poem of Ambra^ Intended to celebrate the delicious 
^rdens, which he had planted m an island of the Oaihrona, and 
which were destroyed by an inundation of that river, is written in 
beautiful octeve verse. In his «ATencMi da JSoriertao, composed 
in the rustic dialect of Tuscany, he celebrates» in stanzas full of 
natural simplicity, gayety, and grace, the charms of a peasant 

W TflS tTAUâUff* 047 

gffl. Hwj0lterMribii0teapliil«topliioal«Kliiiaffilpo«B,te 
die «oBt MAKine tnrtfai ef «le Platome pkihtiyhy ■» ditfl^id 
witk «fori €leaneM «nd •■Utmity. Lomubo has alio l«ft» in àh 
BeMit, an iogenioiu and lively aatira agakist dnnlieimaaa ; aMJ in 
his Caroiral soags, coafiett af extreme gayety , that acc oa i paDi a d 
tiie triamphal fents wliîch he gara ta, and ihared mtà, (he peopla> 
Iq his Giftzont a èado, we have other venes, whkà he amg Uaa» 
self, when he took a part in the dances exhibited in paUse ; and 
ia hie Oraaioni we find sacred hymns, which beloi^ to the highaat 
•rder of lyric poetry. 

Such was the hrilliant imi^(fnatioii, and such the grace and Ter- 
satjlity of talent, of a bmui Io whom poetry was hot aa aaMsemant, 
scârcày noticed in his splendid politioid otireer ; who,-ce > oeotratis>g 
in himself all the powers of the repat>lie, nerer allowad the peo- 
ple to perceive that th^ had relimiobheë their aavemignly $ who, 
by the saperioriiy of hia chancier and of his talaati, gerenied all 
Italy as he governed Florence, preserving it in peaee, aiad avai^ 
ing, as long as he lived, those cslamlties wiâi whioh^ two year» 
afmr his death, it was ovarwheksed ; who was, at the saitta time. 
Hie patron eC the Platonic philosophy, the proipoler of Kt a wt a fa ,. 
Ibe fhttow-^aladént of the learaad, the friend of philosopheiaend: 
poets, and the protector of artiais ; and who Mttdied and faaaftd 
the flame of gentas in the iweast of Michael Aagalo. 


Tub c^Mtiwp whiob» after the death of Petrarch, had beep de- 
nMii hy tha Itahans, to the si^dy of antiquity, daring which Ute- 
VBliire eitperi^aced no advance, and the Italian langui^ seemed 
to retfograAa» wa^ net, however, lost to the powers of imagina-^ 
^Q* f^^t^t <Hi its first revival, bad not received sufficient nou- 
rUkmeat. The i^aill| af knewled^ of ideas, and of imi|ges« which 
^ called t0 her aids was too restricted. The three great men 
ôftbefwHeeotbeeotory, whom we first presented to the atteo- 
tioa of the reader» h«ti, by the sole force of their genius, altaiaed^^ 
* àt^e of e^itîoii, and a siihllmity of thought, far beyond the 
spirit of their age. These qasUties were entirely peraonal ; and 
the rest of the Italiaa htM^, like the Provençal poet», were re^ 
^Qced, by the poverty of their i4e«»> to have recourse to those con^ 
^^ attempts at witf and to tb^ mixture of unintelligible ideas 
||^ ioeohereni httf^ea, whieh render the peruaal of them so fa- 
^pg. The wheie nf tha fiftetpih ceotury was employed ia ex- 
«adtag^ fai> enery aeeae» the knowledge end resources of the 

346 ON T0E LlTBKATràfi 

friands of thé aiiMes. Antiquity was unTé them in all its 
eteyated cfaaracten» its severe la#s, its en^qgetic Tirtnes, and its 
beantiful and engaging mythology i in its subtle and profound phi- 
losophy, its overpowering eloquence, and its delightful poetry. 
Another age was required to knead afresh the clay for the forma- 
tion of a nobler race. At the close of the century, a divine breath 
animated the finished statue, and it started into life. 

It was in the society of Lorenzo de' Medici, in the midst of his 
friends and of the objects of his protection, that several of those 
men of genius appeared, who shed so brilliant a glory on Italy, in 
the sixteenth century. Among these, the most distinguished rank 
may be assigned to Politiano, who opened, to the Italian poets, the 
career of epic and lyric fame. 

Angelo Politiano was bom on the twenty-fourth of July, 1454, 
at Monte Pulciano (Mons PoUtianus,) a castle, of which he adopt- 
ed the name, instead of that of Ambrogini, bone by his father. 
He applied himself with ardour to those scholastic studies which 
engaged the general mind, in the fifteenth century. Some Latin 
and Greek epigrams, which he wrote between the age of thirteen 
and seventeen, surprised his teachers, .and the companions of his 
studies. But the work whioh introduced him to Lorenzo de' 
Medici, and which had the greatest influence on hu age, was a 
poem on a tournament, in which JuUan de' Medici was the victor, 
in 1468. From that time, Lorenzo received Politiano into his 
palace ; made him the constant companion of his labours and his 
studies ; provided for all his necessities, and soon afterwards con- 
fided to him the education of his children. Politiano, after this 
invitation, attached himself to the more serious studies of the Pla- 
tonic philosophy, of antiquity, and of law ; but bis poem in honour 
of the tournament of Joliande' Medici, remains a monument of the 
distinguished taste of the fifteenth century. 

This celebrated fragment commences like a large work. In 
fact, if Politiano had merely intended to celebrate ttie tournament 
in which Julian was victor, he would have fi>und it very difficult 
to finish his poem ; since, in one hundred and fifty stanzas, forming 
a book and a half, he only arrives at the first preparations for the 
tournament. But I willingly suppose that his design was of a 
more extended nature, and more worthy of the epic muse. He 
probably intended, after the death of Julian, to which he alludes 
in the second book, to combine, in a chivalrous description, all 
that could be found interesting in the character of this young prince, 
whose loves he was recording. Politiano, indeed, must soon have 
discovered that he had not made choice of a hero, who could ex- 
cite either his own admiration or that of his reader. Events and 
actions were wanting ; and this was, doubtless, his reason for 
abandoning his work, almost at its commencement. But this mere 
opening of a long poem will not suffer from comparison with those 
of the greatest writers ; and neither Tasso nor Ariosto exceed 
Politiano in his management of the octave stanza, in the spirit of 


bis narratioD, in the grace wad vivacity of hit coloarîngi and in his 
union of an enchanting harmony with the riehect and most varied 
description. The poet represents Julian in the flower of his 
yonthy devoted to the brilliant career of mani j exercises, aspiring 
after glory, and contemning the shafts of love.* He allares the 
yoang companions of his games and exercises, from a^ weakness 
which he despises ; he conducts them to the chace ; and, himselfthe 
n^ost «igile, the most ardent, and the bravest of all, be traverses 
the forest, and slays the fiercest of its inhabitants. Bnt Love, in- 
dignant to see his empire thus contemnedy draws him off from the 
pursuit, by the means of a beautiful white hind, which separates 
bim from his comradesi and leads him^ by various windings, into a 
flowery mead, where Simonetta presents herself to his view, while 
the enchanted hind vanishes in air.f 

"^ Nel vago tempo di sua verde etate, 
Spargendo «ncor pe *l toUo il primo fiore, 
Ne arendo il bel Oiolio ancor proTate 
Le doici acerbe cure ehe dà amore, 
ViTeasi lieto io pace, in libertate, 
Talor frenando an gentfl corridore 
Che gloria fù de' C&iliani armenti ; 
Con esab a correr contendea co* Tcnti. 

Ora a guisa saitar di leopardo, 
Or dentro fea rotarlo in bne?e giro 3 
Or fea roozar per 1' aer un lento dardo, 
Dando so? ente a fere agro martiro ; 
Cotal Tiveasi 1 giorane gagUardo, 
Ne pensando al suo fato aicerbo e dlro, 
I<Je certo ancor de* suoi futuri pianti, 
Solea gabbarsi de gU afflitti amanti. 

Ah ! qaante niafe per loi toapirorno f 
Ma fô si altera sempre il gioTinetto 
Che mai le ninfè amanti lo piegomo, 
Mai potè riscaldarsi 1 fireddo petto. 
Facea sorente pe' boschi soggiorno : 
Inculte sempre é rieido in aspetto. 
It Tolto difendea da! solar n^io. 
Con gbirlanda di pinoy.o Tcrde fiigglo. 

t Candida è ella, e Candida la veata. 
Ma pur di rose e fior dipinta e d' erba ; 
Lo inannellato crin de I'aurea testa 
Scande in la fironte umilmente superba. 
Ridele attorao tutta la foresta, 
£ quanto pud sue cure disacerba. 
Ne I'atto regalmeiite è mansueta, 
£ pur col ciglio le tempeete acqueta. 

f^lHoran glU ôéchi d'un doloe aèreno^ 
Oiqriue foci tien Cupido aacoae : 
jb^aer d'lntomo si Ik tutto ameao* 
Onmque gira le luoi amorese ; 

Vol. L 3^ 

m. 1. &t(mi. ar 


Julian DOW sees only the fair Ligurian ; forgets the chace^ and 
foregoes his resolves against the power of Love. Capid, in the 
meantime, prood of his conquest, flies to the palace of his mother, 
in the Isle of Cyprus, and boasts of his success ; and the descrip* 
tion of this enchanted palace has served as a model to Ariosto and 
to Tasso, for the enchanted domes of Alcina and of Armida.* This 
description may,, perhaps, be too far extended, as the action of 
.the poem is not accelerated by it, and the poet indulges himself 
too far in his pictures of mythology. In the second book, Simo- 
netta, arrayed in the armour of Pallas» appears to Julian in a dream. 
She reminds him, that it is only by valour that a hero should think 
of obtaining her heart. Julian awakes» amidst the aspirations of 
glory andoflove.t 

Di celeste letizia U toUo ba pieno, 
Dolce dipinto di ligustri e rose. 
Ogni aura tace al suo parlar dWino, 
B caiita ogni augelletto in suo latino. ^ 

X.i5. 1. Stanx^ 43. 

* Vagbeggia Cipri un dilettoso monte 
Che del grau Nilo i sette corni Tede^ ^ 

Ai primo rosseggiar de l^orizzonte, it 

Ove poggiar non lice a mortal piede. 
Nel giogo un Terde coUe alza la fronte, 
Sott' esso aprico un lieto pratel siede ; 
U' scherzando tra fior, lascire aurette 
Fan dolcemente tremolar I'erbette. 

Corona un mnro d' or 1' estreme sponde 
Con valle umbrosa di scbietti arbosceili, 
Ore in su rami, fra noYcUe IVonde, 
Cantan gli loro amor soan augelli, 
s^entesi un g^rato mormorio de V onde 
Che fan duo freschi e lucidi ruscelli, 
Versando dolce con amar liquore, 
Oto arma I' oro de suoi strali amore. 

Ne mai le chiome del giardino eterno 
Tenera brina o (Vesca neye imbianca: 
iTi non osa entrar ghiacciato Temo ; 
Non Tento 1' erba o gli arboscelli stanca. 
Ivi non Tolgon gli anni i! lor quaderno ; 
Ma lieta primayera mai non manca, 
Che i suoi crin biondi e erespi a i' aura spiega 
£ mille fiori in ghirlandetta lega. 

^[For a translation of the above stanzas, and of some others, the reader is 
*^referred to the note at the conclusion of the present chapter. — Tr.} 

t Cos! dicea Cupido, e gia la gloria 
Sceodea giu folgorando ardente vampo, 
Con essa poesia, con essa istoria 
Volayan tutte accese del suo lampo. 
Costei parea che ad acquistar Tittoria 
Rapisse Giulio orribilmente in campo, 
E che V arme di Palla alia sua donna 
Spogliasse, e lei lasciasse in bianca gonna. 


But here Politiano has relinquished his work, and leaves us to 
regret, either that a subject, of a more noble nature, and more 
exempt from flattery, had not animated his genius, or that too 
severe a taste caused him to abandon that which he had already 

Politiano had the honour of reviving, on the modern stage, the 
tragedies of the ancients ; or rather, he created a new kind of 
pastoral tragedy, a description of poetry on which Tasso did not 
disdain to employ his genius. The fable of Orpheus, Favola di 
Orfeo^ of Politiano, was performed at the court of Mantua, in 
1483, on occasion of the return of the Cardio:^ Cxonzaga. It 
was composed in two days. It is not without regret that we con- 
template the fine genius of Politiano. Before the age of nine- 
teen, without a model or a predecessor, he had successfully 
attempted the epic and tragic walks of poetry, and has left us 
poems which, though little more than fragments, exact our high 
admiration. To what height of fame might he not have aspired, 
if he had not abandoned the Italian muse for Latin verse, and 
for philosophical works, which are now no longer perused ! 

The universal homage paid to Virgil had a decided influence on 
the rising drama. The scholars were persuaded that this cherish- 
ed poet combined in himself all the difiereot kinds of excellence ; 
and, as they created a drama before they possessed a theatre, thej 
imagined that dialogue, rather than action, was the essence of 
the dramatic art. The Bucolics appeared to them a species of 
comedies or tragedies, less animated, it is true, but more poetical 
than the dramas of Terence and of Seneca, or, perhaps, of the 
Greeks. They attempted, indeed, to unite these two kinds ; 
to give interest, by action, to the tranquil reveries ^ of the 

Poi GioUo di sue spoglie armava tutto, 
E tutto fiainmeggiar lo facea d'auro, 
Quando era al fin del guereggiar condutto 
Al capo gl' intrecciara oliva e lauro. 
Ivi tornar parea sua gioia in lutto, 
Vedeasi tolto il suo dolce tesauro, 
Vedea sua ninfe, in trista nube avvolta, 
Dagli occhi crudelmente essergU tolta. 

L'aria tutta parea divenir bruna, 
E tremar tutto de 1' abisso il fonde ; 
Parea sauguigna in ciel farsi la luna 
£ cader giù le stelle nel profondo ; 
Poi Tedea lieta in forma di fortuna, 
Soiger siia ninfa, e rabbelUrsi il mondo ; 
£ prender lei di sua vita governo 
£ lui con seco far per faoia eterno. 

Sotto cotali aiiit)ftgi a] giovanetto 
FÙ mostro de' suoi fati il leggier corso, 
Troppo felice, se nel suo diletto 
Non mettea morte acerba il crudel morso, etc. 




shepherds, and to preserve a' pastoral charm id the more 
violent expression of passioei. The Orpheas, though divided 
ioto ùve acts, though mingled with chorus, and terminating 
with a tragic incident, is still rather an eclogue than a drama. 
The love of Aristseus for Eurydice : the flight ^nd death of tfie 
latter, who is deplored by the dryads ; the^amentation of Or- 
pheus ; his descent into hell ; and his punishment at the hands of 
the Bacchantes, form the subject of the five acts, or rather of the 
five little sketches lightly strung together. Each act contains 
little more than from fifty to one hundred verses. A short dia- 
logue explains Ibe incidents between the acts ; and he thus pre- 
sents us with an ode, or a song, an elegy, or a lyric poem, which 
appears to have been the principal object of the author, and the 
essence of his poetry. He makes use of various metres, the 
terza rima^ the octave stanza^and even the more invobred coup- 
lets of the tanzoni^ for the dialogue ; and the lyric pieces are 
almost all supported by a burden. Nothing, indeed, can less re^ 
semble our present tragedy, or that of the ancients. The Or- 
pheus of Politiano, nevertheless, produced a revolution in poetry. 
The charm of the decorations, united to the beauty of the verse, 
and the music attached to the words, exciting interest at the same 
time that it gratified the mind, combined to lead the way to the 
most sublime enjoyment which the Muse can bestow, and gave 
birth to the dramatic art. At the same time, the scrupulous ioi- 
tation of antiquity, prepared, in another manneri the revival of 
the theatre. After the year 1470, the academy of learned men 
and poets of Rome undertook^ for the better revival of the 
ancients, to represent, in Latin, some of the comedies of Plantas. 
This example, and that of Politiano, were soon followed. The 
taste for theatrical performances was renewed with greater eager- 
ness, as it was regarded as an essential part of classical antiquity. 
It was not yet supported by the contributions of the spectators, 
but formed, as in Rome and in Greece, a part of the public, and 
often of the religious ceremonies. The sovereigns, who at this 
epoch placed all their glory in the protection of letters and of the 
arts, endeavoured to surpass each other, in erecting, on occa- 
sions of solemnity, a theatre, for the purpose of a single repre- 
sentation. The scholars and the court disputed for the honour of 
the parts, in the performance of the piece, which was sometimes 
translated from the Greek or Latin, and at other times was the 
composition of some modern poet, in imitation of the ancients. 
Italy boasted of exhibiting, annually, (wo theatrical representa- 
tions : the one at Ferrara or at Milan, the other at Rome or at 
Naples. All the neighbouring princes, within reach, repaired 
thither, with their courts and retinue. The magnificence of the 
spectacle, the enormous cost, and the gratitude for an unbought 
{Measure, disarmed the severe judgment of the public. The re- 
cords of the Italian cities, in presenting to us the recollection of 
these representations, speak of them always in terms of unquali- 

W THE ITAl/aNB. iBii 

ûed adautMon. Thus, It was less the applause of the poUic 
than the restoration of the classics, which the poets had io view 
in their compositions. They confined themselves to the most 
faitfafQl copy of the ancients ; and the imitation of Seneca being 
equally classical with that of Sophbcles, many of the first drama- 
tic attempts of the poets of the fifteenth century, contain tamid 
declamations, without either action or interest, and all the faults 
of the Roman tragedies. 

About the same time, thdt style of poetry which was destined 
to form the glory of Ariosto, began to be cultiyated. Luigi Pulci, 
a Florentine, the youngest of three brothers, all -poets, composed 
and read, at the table of Lorenzo de' Medici, his Morgante Mag- 
giore; and Matteo Maria Boiardo, Count of Scandia, wrote his 
Orlando Innawiorato. Both these poems are chivalrous romances 
in Terse^ or rather in stanzas of eight verses, of the form which 
became peculiar to the epic poetry of Italy ; but neither the one 
nor the other can merit the name of an epic poem. The chival- 
reus romance's, composed for the most part in French, in the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries, were early circulated in Italy, 
and we learn from Dante, that they were already very much read 
in his day. In their origin, they accorded with the vivacity of 
the prevailing religious sentiment, with the violence of the 
passions, and with the taste for adventures, which animated the 
Christians of the firsts crusades. The general ignorance of the 
times favoured the potvers of imagination. The vulgar looked 
rather to some supernatural agency, than to nature^ for the expli- 
cation of events, and admitted the marvellous, as a part of the 
system to which their daily terrors and hopes had habituated 
them, f At the close of the fifteenth century, when the poets 
possessed themselves of all the old romances of chivalry, in order 
to give a variety to the adventures of their heroes, and to versiiy 
these legends, the belief in the marvellous wiis much diminished ; 
and the warriors, who still bore the names and the armour of 
knights, were far from calling to recollection the loyalty, the true 
love, and the valour of the ancient Paladins. Thus, the adven- 
tares which the ancient romancers recounted with an invincible 
gravity, could not be repeated by the Italians, without a mixture 
of mockery ; and the spirit of the age did not admit, in the Italian 
language, a subject entirely serious. He who made pretensions 
to fame, was compelled to write in Latin. The choice of the 
vulgar tongue was the indication of â humorous subject ; and the 
Italian language had, in fact, adopted, since the time of Boccaccio^ 
a character of naivete mingled with satire, which still remains, and 
which is particularly remarkable in Ariosto. 

It was not all at once that the romantic poets of Italy arrived at 
a just measure, in the mixture of humour with fabulous narrative, 
^uigl Pulci (1431-1487) in his Morgante Maggiore, which first 
appeared in 1485, is alternately vulgar and burlesque, serious and 
insipid, or religious. The principal characters of his romance 


254 OK TB^ l4lTfiRATUHK 

are the «ame which first appeared io the fabuleut chronicle of 
Turpioy and in the romances of Adeoez, in the thirteenth centu- 
ry. His real hero is Orlando, rather than Morgante. He takes 
up the Paladin of Charlemagne, at the moment when the intrigues 
of Ganelon de Mayence compd him to fly fron^ the court. One 
of the first adventures of Orlando is a combat with three giants, 
who lay siege to an abbey. Two of these he kills, and makes the 
third, Morgante, prisoner ; converts and baptizes him ; and thence- 
forth selects him as his brother in arms, and the partaker in all 
bis adventures. Although this romance consists entirely of war- 
like encounters, we do not find in it that enthusiasm of valour 
which captivates io Ariosto, and in the old romancers. Orlando 
and Rinaldo are not vanquished, but they do not inspire us with a 
confidence in their invincibility. Morgante alone, armed with 
the hammer ef a huge bell, crushes all that he encounters ; but 
his supernatural strength less exalts his bravery than his brutali^. 
On the other hand, throughout the poem, a secondary part is as- 
signed to the women. We do not find it imbued with that gallant- 
ry and devotion, which we are accustomed to consider as the 
characteristic trait of chivalry ; and in this we have, perhaps, 
nothing to regret, as the habitual coarseness of the language of 
Pulci was little suited to the delineation of tender sentiments. The 
critics of Italy extol him for the^purity of his style ; but it consists 
y only in his ^delity to the Tuscan dialect, of which he adopted 

the proverbs, and all the vulgar expressions.* This poem of 
twenty-eight cantos, each canto containing from one to two hun- 

'*' Pulçi commences all hia cantof by a sacred ioTOcation, and the ioterests 
of religion ace constantij intermingled with the adventures of his stoiy, in a 
manner capricious and little instructive. We know not how to reconcile this 
monkish spirit with the semi-pagan character of society under Lorenzo de' 
Medici, nor whether wo ought to accuse Pulci of gross bigotry or of profane 
derision. This mixture of religion, Of affected suMimity, of solemn innpidity, 
and of vulgar expression, will sufficiently appear from the opening of the 
ninth canto : 

Felice alma d' ogni graxia plena, 
Fida colon na, e speme graziosa, 
Vergine sacra, umile e Naczarena, 
Perche tu se' di Dio nel cielo sposa, « 
Con la tua mano infino al fin mi mena, 
Che di mia fantasia truovi ogni chiosa 
Per la tua sol benignità ch' è molta, 
Accio che 1 mio contar piaecia a chi ascoUa. 

Febo avea già ne POceano il volto, 
E baznava fra l' onde i suoi crin d'auro, 
£ dal Dostro emispero aveva tolto 
Ogni splendor, lasciando il suo bel laoro, 
Dal qual fti già miseramenCe sciolto : 
Era nel tempo che piu scalda il Tauro, 
Quando il Danese et gli altri al padiglione 
St ritrovar del grande Erminione. 

OP THfi ITALIA1S8. 265 

(Irai stanzas, after fcaTing satiated m wHh the recital of combats 
^Seiost the Moors, and of ill cooneeted adventores, terminates with 
the death of Orlandp at RoneesTalles» aod the discovery and pu- 
nishment of the treachery of Ganelon. 

The Count Boiardo, a statesman» governor of Reggto, and at- 
tached to the court of Hercules I. of Ferrata, (1430-1494) com- 
posed, about the same time ;|8 Pulci, his Orlando Innamorato, 
drawn nearly from the same sources ; but bis death, which oc- 
curred in 1494, prevented its completion, and his poem was not 
printed until the following year. This poem, which is only known, 
at the present day, as improved by Hemi, who remodelled it sixty 
years afterwards, is more attractive than that of Polci, from the 
variety and novelty of the adventures, the richness of the colour- 
ing, and the interest excited by the valour of the hero. The fe- 
male sex, who form the soul of the chivalrous romance, appear 
here with due honour ; and Angelica displays her charms, and 
ezereisea supreme power over the hearts of the knights. 

All the Moorish and Christian warriors whose names have be- 
come almost historical, receive from Boiardo an existence and a 
character which they have ever since preserved. We are in- 
formed that he took th)e names of many of them, Gradasso, Sacri- 
pante, Agramante, and Mandricardo, from the vassals of his own 
fief of Scandiano, where these families still exist It is added, that 
he was in want of a more high-sounding name for his redoubtable 
Moorish hero, and that, one day, whilst at the chace, the name of 
Rodomonte suggested itself to him. He instantly returned to his 

Erminion fe' far pel campo fetta : 
Pairegli qnesto buon eommciameiito : 
£ Mattafolle avaa drietogran gesta 
Di gente armata a suo eontentamento, 
£' ndosao aveva ana sua sopraTesta, 
Doy' era un Macometto in puro argento - 
Pel campo a spasao con gran festa andava, 
Di sua prodezza ognun molto pariara. 

£ ti doleva Mattafolle solo 
Ch' Astolfo un tratto non Teoga a cadere; 
£ minacciaTa in mezz^o del suo stuolo, 
£ porta una fenice per cimiere ; 
Astolfo ne sare' Tenuto a toIo 
Per cadere una Tolta a suo pfaicere ; 
Ma Ricciardetto, che sapea 1' omore 
Non Tuol per nulla ch* c^i sbucht fore. 

Carlo mugghiando per la mastra sala 
Com' un lion famelico arrabiato. 
Ne va con Ganellon che batte ogni ala , 
Per gran letizta, e spesso hasimulato, 
DIeendo; ah lasso, la tua fiune cala 
Or fosse qui RInaldo almen tornato; 
Che se ci ftisse il conte e Ulivieri 
lo sarei faor di mille stran pensieti* 



caitlé OB the gdlop, rang bis bellt, and firad bis canwm, as for Ibe 
solenmizatîoD of a festival ; to tbe astonisbmeat of the peemli, 
who bad never before heard of this new saiol- The style of Boi- 
atdo did not correspond with tbe yivacHv of bis imaginaten. It i» 
negligent, and hb verses are bawb and fatigoing; and it sras not 
withoet reaooii that, in tbe following age, it waa thoi^ neces- 
sary to remodel bis work.^ 

♦ As thepeem of Boiardo is become somewhat «Wr I «*^«i»^"" •■P^ 

w of kU style, the six first stanzas of his pee», '^^^^u *ï!^!!r ÎJ ï! 
-A J&A.T A ..:.AL ^r D : «. «AmMiMiuy th^m With the poem 01 ue 

facility and g 
piession, for the harsh and antiquated language of his predecessor. 

men of hu «y»> »• »a «w stanzas os a» i^w, "-"r, '^"^~- 7|. ^ 
first, fifth, and ninth of BcmL In comparing them mth the pcwmc^Ttbc 
latter, we shall see how Bcmi has substituted his own facility "»* grace of ca- 
iiMMinn. for Hie banh ftnd sntiauated ianauaze of his predecessor {tsaa. •» 

4to. IS^.) 

Signori e catralier, cbe v' adunati 
Per odir cose dilettose e novo, 
StatI atteati, qniati, et aseaHati 
Ia bell' historia che '1 mio eai^ laove ; 
£t odereti i gesti smisnrati 
L' alta fatica e le mirabil prove 
Che feee il franco Orlando per amore, 
Nal tempo dal lè Carlo» imparatora. 

Non Ti par eià, signer, marav^lioso 
Odir caatar d wlande inaamorato i 
Che qaalaaqne net maado e più çrgogliOBo 
£ d'amor Yiato al tutto e soggiogato* 
Nç Corte braccio, ne ardire animoso, 
Ne seudo o maglia, ne brando affilato, 
Ne altra possanzajpuô mai far difiesa 
Ch' id fin non sla d:amor batfuta e presa* 

Quests norella è nota a poea gente. 
Perche Turpino istesso la nascose, 
Credendo forsi a quel conte valente 
Esser le sue scritture dispettose, 
Poi che contra ad anier par fô perdente 
Colui che rinse tutte V altre cose f 
Dico d'Oriando P cavalier adatto; 
Non piô parole hormai, Teniamo id fhtto. 

La vera historia di Torpin ragiona 
Che regaaTa in la terra ^POrieiite, 
Di là dal India, un gran r^, di corona 
Di state e di ricchezze si poteote, 
Ë si gagUardo de la sua persona, 
Che tutt 'il monde stimava aiente. 
Gradasso nome area quell' amirauté 
Oh' à cor di drago, a membra ai gigaate. 

Et si come gli adWen a gran signori, 
Che pur quel TogHon che non ponno arere, 
£ quando son diffieultà m&gglori 
1a disiata cosa ad ottenere, 
Pongon il regno spesso in grand' erreri, 
Ne posson quel che TOgUon possedere, 
Cosi bramava qael pagan gagliardo 
Sol Durindanae '1 bon destrier Baiardo* 




The Italian langaage waB thus at length perfected. The veni- 
âcation had receiyed its rales ; the stanza, most appropriate to epic 
poetrj, bad already been employed in works of length ; the ro- 
mances of chivalry were versified, and their marvelloas adventures 
described in glowing colours. But, before Arioito, the world had 
no idea of that tneipresflible «harm which the same adtentnres, re- 
eoiinted in the same stanza, were destined to receive from his pen*. 
€reni<is,> compared with taleiit, is like the oak compared with the 
low planta at its feet. The oak shoets, indeed, from the same 
earth, and is subject to the tame law» of vegetation. But it as- 
pires to a higher region of air ; and, when we view it in single ma» 
jesty» we foi^t that the btimble shrbbs» beneath its shade, are in 
the same class of organization. 

Lodovico Artosto was bom on the eighth day of Septembei^, 
1474, at Reggio, of which place his father was governor, for the 
Duke of Ferrara. He was intended for the study of jurispru- 
dence, and, like many other distinguished poets, he experienced a 
long struggle between the will of his father, who was anxious that 
he shoaid pursue a profession, and his own feehngs, whidi 
prompted him to the mdolgence of his genius. After five years 
^f anprofitabie study ^ his iktherat length consented to his devoting 
himself solely to literature; Ariosto then repaired to Rome ; and 
it was thei^e that be wrote in prose, before the year 1500, his 
comedy of La CksBaria^ which, if not the earliest of the Italian 
comedies, may at least dispute this honour with Calandta of Car- 
dina] Bibbiena. He soon afterward gave to the public a second 
comedy, / Supponti. At the same time, we find him writing son- 
nets and love canzani^ in the manner of Petrarch ; but we know 
not of whom he was enamoured, nor whether his passion was real 
Of feigned. He was not of a melancholy or enthusiastic tempera- 
ment ; l^ia conversation was that of a man of wit and judgment ; 
his mannersr were polished and reserved, and no pecuiiarities 
betrayed the poet in him. The death of his father, in 1600, re- 
called faio) to Ferrara ; and the smallness 6f his fortune induced 
him to attach himself to the service of the Cardinal Ippolito of 
Este, the second son of Hercules I. He accompanied the car- 
dinal in his travels, and was employed by him in many important 
negotiations. But, although skilful in business, he never pursued 
it without a secret regret ; until, to the chagrin of the prince, he 
began to occupy himself with the trifling pursuits of poetry. About- 

Onde pier tutf* 11 sab gran tenitoro 
Fece la gente ae Parme assembrare ; 
Che ben sapeva quel, che per tesoro 
Ne '1 brando ne '1 corsier potria 'quistare i 
Duo mercadanti si eranu coloro 
Che vendean le sue merci troppo cate ; 
Perb destina di ptssar in Franza 
£t acquistarle con sua gran possanza. 


ON turn lltEKATUK^ 

the year 150S, he commepceâ bis Orlando Furiot&f and he pfôs^- 
cnted this long task, for eleven years, amidst the censtanf dtsiraé- 
tion <^ business. He read his ciOitos, as they were finished^ to 
bis lirieiidsr and to persons of taste in Few rara f and he paid a set» 
puiods attention to their eriticisani, in order to polîçh and perfect 
hts style. He was at length enabled, in the year lôlG, to give the 
firitt ecKtion of this poem, which ao%t contams, in forty aii canto», 
4831 stanzas, and 38,648 verses. The reception given to tie 
Orlando Furioso in Italy, was that of the most lively eothtniasaL 
Before the year 1532, foar editions had appeared. The CaMlhurt 
Ippollto was the only person inÀ^eosible to the merits of Ai^iesle ; 
and, in 1517, they separated with feetkigs of mateal distaste, on 
the poet refusing to accompany hiiD into Hongary. A mioMB 
kW-suit, however, constraiùed him, in a little, time, to retam 
again to court. Alfonso I. received hini into bis service, andgaNrie 
him an employment under the government. Ariosto watf eommM- 
sioned to suppress the banditti of the Garfs^ana, and we sjpe 9à* 
Bured that, amidst those lawless men, his poetical feme preceded 
hioQi, and served him as a passport* The Duke of Ferratfli gsnré 
him, at length, an appointment more congenial to has taste ; that 
4»f superintending the erection of a theatre, and directing the mfl|^ 
nificent representations wbich he intended to give. Ariosto ea»- 
ployed, in this manner, the last years of his life. With a very 
limited income, he provided for his children* ' It ts riot known 
who Ttraa their mother, nor whether Ariosto itas married to li^« 
He died on the sixth of June, 1^3. His brother Crabrlil, aasl 
his son Virginie, erected a monument to him, which, àfiter many 
injuties^ ivaS restored, in \6t2, by one of his descendants. 

The Orlando Fofriosd of Ariosto is a poem univeraaMjr kne^Ob 
It has been translated into all the modern tongues ; sénI by the 
' sole charm of its adveotures, independently of its poetry^ has long 
been the delight of the youth of all countries. It may ttierefeié 
be taken for granted, that dl the world is aware that Arioeto an- 
dertook to sing the Paladins and their amours at the eoiirt of 
Charlemiigne^ during the fabulous wars of this mobareh againit 
the Moors. M it were rec^uired to astign an historical epoch tù 
the events contained in this poem, we must place them before the 
year 778, when Orlando was slaiii at the battle of Ronoesvalles, 
in an expedition which Charlemagne mada^ before he fvaa empe- 
ror, to deihnd the frontiers of Spain. But it may be conjectured, 
that the romance writers have confounded the wars of Charles 
Martel against Abdel rahman, with those of Charlemagpe ; aiui 
have thus given nie to the traditio^ns of the invasion of France by 
the Saracens, and of those unheard-of perils, from which, the 
West of Europe was sa^d by the valour of the Paladins. Every 
reader knows that Orlando, of all the heroes of Ariosto the most 
renowned for his valour, became mlid, through love for Angelica; 
and that his madness^ which is only an episode in this long poem, 
has given its name to the whole of the comj^ositien, although it I» 



Mf until the tweDty*third canto that Orlando is deprived of bJà 
«flB9es. (, 

itnikkes not appear that Ariosto had the intention of writing a 
ftHoUy epic poem. He had rejected the advice of Beabo, who 
withed him to compote his poem in Latin, the only language» in the 
opiaioo of the cardinal» worthy of a serions aofaject. Ariosto 
Ihottght^ perhqM, that an Italian poem should neressarily be light 
and sportive. He scorned the adopted roles of poetry , imd proved 
UflMelf sufficiently powerful to create new ones. His work may, 
indeed, be said to possess an unity of subject ; the greal struggle 
between the Christians and the Moors, which began with the in- 
vaaioo of France» and terminated with her deliverance. This 
waB the subject which he had proposed to himself in his argu* 
nient. The lives and adventures of his several heroes contri- 
boted to this great action ; and were so many suWrdinate epi- 
sodes, which may be admitted in epic poetry, and which» in so 
long a work, cannot be considered as destroying the unity. 

Bot Ariosto seems to have designedly thro» n off the embar- 
rassment of an unity of action. He takes up the subject and this 
hOiPo, aa letft to him by Boiardo, in the Orlando Innamorato. Htf 
commences his poem in the midst of combats, and in a moment of 
aniyeraal confusion ; and, notwithstanding this, he never makes 
us acquainted with the antecedent events, as if he thought that 
every one must have read the woVk of his predecessor. In fact, 
it is difficttlt to comprehend the disposition of the plot of Orlando 
Pmrioso, if we h^e not previously perused the Orlando Innamo- 
i!ato» or if we are not, at least, masters of those traditions of ro- 
Bianice, with^wfeich, in the time of Ariosto, the world was more 
iivntfiar. He pays no regard to the simultaneous introduction of 
his prvicipal personoges. Towards the conclusion of the poem, 
we £od Aew characters making their appearance, who engage oi|r 
^ttsiitron by important adventures ; and who, so &r from contri- . 
butic^:to a developement, might serve equally well to fill a second 
poem of tbj^ aame length as the first. In the course of the action, 
4riosto, playing with his readers, seems to deliiçht in continmdiy 
misleading them, sdmost to the eihaustion of their patience ; and 
aHows tbmn no opportunity of yiewing the general subject of this 
poem, and of bringing the ipdi vidua! events under one view. On 
the contrary, he introduces each of his peraooages in their turn, 
m If he were the hero of the poem ; and, when he has drawn 
htm into an embarrassing situation, and has sufficiently excited 
the curiosity and anxiety of the reader he abandons him, in 
Us sportivene^» for some other character, or *for another part of 
his story, wholly at variance with the first. In shorty as be com- 
nencedf without assigning any reason why he so commenced, so 
he conclttdes with equal caprice, without informing qs why he 
thua enda jhia poem* Many of his principal actors, it is true, are 
dead, dndhe sioreover disposes of a great number of infidels in his 
last cantoa» In order to deliver himself, as it were^ from their op- 


position. Bat, in the course of his poem, he has so entirely aCt 
customed us to see unnumbered hosts issuing from unknown det 
serts, and has so entirely carried our ideas beyond the bonnda- 
ries of possibility, that we see without surprit^e, at the end of tlie 
forty-sixth canto, a new invasion of France by the Moors, no less 
formidable than the first ; or, rather, a new war in the north, sue* 
ceedmgthat of the south ; and Ariosto has himself considered it 
in this light, in the commencement of a new poem, of which be 
has given us only five cantos. In this, the intrigiiesof Ganelon 
excite the Saxons to arms ; and the most valiant of the knights, as 
Astolfo and Ru^giero, are again mifide captive by Alcina.* 

The poem of Ariosto is, therefore, only a fragment of the his- 
tory of the knights of Charlemagne and their amours ; and it has 
neitherbeginning nor end, farther than any particular detached 
period may be said to possess them. This want of unity essen* 
tially injures the interest and the general impression which we 
ought to derive from the work. But the avidity with which all 
nations, and all ages, have read Ariosto, even when his'storj'lB 
despoiled of its poetic charms by translation, sufficiently proves 
that he had thé art of giving to its individual parts an interest 
which it does not possess as a whole. Above all, he has comma- 
nicated to it a spirit of valour. In spite of the habitual absurdity 
of those chivalrous- combats ; in spite of the disproportion of the 
causes with their effects, and the raillery which seems insepara- 
ble from the narration of his battles, Ariosto always contrives to 
excite in us an enthusiasm and an intoxication of valour which 
create a love of enterprise in every reader. One " of the most 
exalted enjoyments of man, consists in thefuUdevelopementof his 
energies and power. The great art of the poet of romance is, to 
awaken a proper^ confidence in our own resources, by raising 
i^inst his hero all the forces of nature and the spells of magic, 
and by exhibiting him as triumphant, by the superiority of his will 
and courage, over all the powers which had conspired his ruin. 

In the world into which Ariosto transports us, we find also- 
another source of enjoyment. This world, essentially poetic, in 

* The fourth Tolume of M. Gingaené, which I had not an opportunity of 
peeing before the completion of this work, proves that the hero of Ariosto 
was Ruggiero, and not Orlando; and that the action of the poem ought t& 
finish with the marriage of this fabulous ancestor of the iiouse of Este witk 
Bradamante. The secret design of the poet is thus explained, and brought 
before the eyes of the reader by the French critic, in a way as lively as his 
whole analysis is novel and engaging. At the same time, I cannot but regret 
the feeling thus induced* The value of these noble monuments of the hurasB 
mind is diminished in our eyes, when we view them only as the vehicie of m 
flattering and ingenious compliment. It is surely quite sufficient for the sons 
of genius to consecrate some passages, by way of episode, to commemorate 
their benefactors, without converting the entire structure of their greatest 
iprprk»! Into a theatre for the praises pf those who are-so little worthy St them. 


which aH the ▼algarioterests of life are suspended ; where love 
and bonoar are the only laws, and the only motives to action, 
and'no jfiictitioas wants, no cold calcnlations chill the sonl ; where 
all the paina and all the disquietudes incident to our lot, and the 
inequnlities of rank and of riches, are forgotten ; thi» imaginary 
world icharnn ^way all our cares. We delight in makinj^ eitcur-' 
sions into it, and in diccovering in it a refuge from the distractions 
of real life. We derive, indeed, no instruction from these reve<- 
ries ; for the difference between the world of romance and the 
real world is such, that we cannot, in the one, make the least use 
of the lessons received from the other. It is, in fact, a remarka- 
ble characteri.<^tic of thi9 species of poetry, that it is ibposxible to 
derive from it any kind of instruction. But we receive no little 
gratification from an occupation of the mind, on a «object which 
disclaims all admonition ; and the dream of fancy, without any 
defined object, is, perhaps, the real essence of poetry, which 
ought never to be a mean«, but is in itself its only proper end. 

It is true, indeed, that this world of rpm^^nce is not the creation 
of Ariosto. The scene of the Orlando Furioso and that of the 
Orlando Innamorato, is exactly the same ; and both authors, in 
availing themselves of the fabulous authority of Archbishop Tur- 
pin, have greatly profited by the brilliant invention of the French 
' Trouvères y who, in the thirteenth century, composed many ro- 
mances on the reign of Charlemagne : romances which the wan- 
dering minstrels sung in the streets, after translating them into 
Italian verse, adapted to the taste of the common people. If, how- 
ever, the representation of these ancient manners of and the spirit 
ofpast times, was the work of several successive poets, yet Ari- 
osto may be said to have completed this elegant and ingenious, 
edifice. Chivalry, with him, shines forth in all its dignity, deli- 
cacy, and grace» The most exalted sentiments of honour, the 
protection of the feeble, a devoted respect for the female seVi 
and a scrupulous performance of promises, form the ruling spirit 
of the age into which he transports us. These sentiments are 
professed and felt by all his personages ; and the fanciful race of 
knights have received from him a being and a name. 

The mngic and sorcery which pervade so great a portion of the 
poem of Ariosto, and which have been, in a manner, consecrated 
by the Christian poets, were borrowed chiefiy from the Arabian 
tales, and had been transmitted to the Latins by their intercourse 
with the people of the East. The Christian warriors themselves 
hVd, indeed, many gross superstitions. They bad faith in amu- 
lets, which they imagined could render theni invulnerable. They 
believed that certain ill-omened words and charms could rob them 
of their strength. Continually accustomed to the use of arms, 
they were disposed to believe that those of the finest steel and the 
most approved temper, possessed in themselves something mar- 
vellous. But their superstition often carried with it a more som- 
bre character, Their priests had inspired them with a thousand 

2§t on vfiB uvWATin^ 

tenon, which wene Mmà to a fcfiecvliqgfinth. Evil spnita and 
ghMti mceflsaotlj troQUed their ioraginatioM ; and-tfae aame war- 
riors» who had braved a thavaaDd di^aftha in the 6eld, were pabied 
with horror, ia crosatn^ a burial place by night This soperatt- 
tioo, the resalt of the frightfal pictores of Purgadory and Hell, is 
Cfostaotlj foQod in the Gennan poets ; but it is entirely strange 
to Ariosto and to the writers of romance, whom he had stndied in 
Spanish and French, with both of which iangaages he was inti» 
mat^j acquainted. The sapematnral agency which Ariosto em- 
ploys is dtvestéd of all terror. It is a brittiaot heif^ening of the 
energies of man, which embodies the dreams of the imagination ; 
the developeraent of the passions of the living, not the naaatand 
i^arition of the dead. The Genii of the £ast, whom the most 
ancient fables have represented as sabservient to the ring of SOf 
knnon^ are the prototypes of the fairies of the North. Their 
power is exercised, as in the Arabian fables, in splendid creations, 
in a taste for the arts, and in a love of pleasnre. In short, Alciaa, 
Atlas, the ring of Angeli<;fi, and the Htppogriff, are the creations 
of Islanâsm ; whilst the evil spirit of the moontain, and the spec- 
tre of the castle, who shakes bi^ fettera and disturbs the hoars of 
repose, by his frightfal visits, are Earopean saperstttions, allied 
to Chifsiianity and to the mythology of Scandinavia and of Ger- 

&at, if Ariosto was not the inventor of the mythology which he 
has employed, nor of the heroes whom he has introdnced, he bai 
not the less exhibited, in bis poem, the most brilliant ims^nation, 
and the moat fertile invention. Esch of his knights has his own 
story, and each of these stories forms a tissue of agreeable ^d- 
ventarea, which awake the curiosity, and often excite the liveliest 
interest. Many of these adventures have furnished excellent 
dmmatie subjects to succeeding poets ; and the loves of Angelica 
aad Medoro, those of Bradamaote and Ruggiero, and of Gensvra 
of Scotland, and Ariodante,fonn a world of traditionary poetry , 
j$aii loss fruitful than that of the Greeks. 

'It mnst <be confessed, notwithstanding, that the dramatic ponders 
of Ariosto do not equal his talent for description, and that his in* 
veotion is more successful with regard to events than to character. 
He weaves a plot in the cnost novel and en^iging manner. Our 
sympathy is excited from the commencement, and increases with 
the embarrassment of the âtuations. All the incidents are unex* 
^ected ; almost idl are of powerful interest ; and the scene and 
action are vividly presented to our eyes. But, when the poet, at 
length, brings forward, as a speaker, the character which be has 
placed in the most difficult situation, he suddenly disappoints his 
reader, aqd shows us that his imagination, and not j^s heart, 
was the source of composition. Thus, kt the tenth canto, Bi- 
reno, the lover and husband of Oympia, arrives with her in a 
desert island. Already weary of her, he medttotes her deser- 
tion, without her having the least presentiment o£ his perfidy. 


tke MMll iiéj ÎB wfaiek Ih^ diviaiterli, the 8alilki« spot 
Q& vrliiok Ikcj piteh teirleotv «id the «êreftHy and' ootifldenee 
of Oijrn^ria ore adniràUy deicribed. Whtiit »lke «l^ps, Bi* 
fetio foréaket het ; and the niiiMifiT to #liîob Otyntma, at tbe 
bteak of dvy, half awaking froi» her 8l«fliilief0« aedii for^hcr 
iovar ia Ifae conck which k« b^s dêa^rled, i» the taikt which 
he has id>midoDed, aod on tfaa border of the tea, a<id at lenglbi 
from the point of a rook, sees hi» reMel, coar^mg the disteat 
main, is painted with a delicacy of colouring, and a fleeliag of De* 
lancholy which profftimdly penetrate the heart. Knt when 
Olympia spetfks» and expreatei, in seven stanzas, her t^grets and 
her feavs^ she instantly checks onr eoftolion ; fet, in these itanaas, 
ihere ia not a single Terse ilhat reapends to» the throbbingâ of the 
heart 11 is, donbtless, tbe sawe Ailing which* depHves the pet- 
sone^es of AHosto of indifidnèl character. Even Orkmdo, the 
hero who giires his name to-the peeitt^ differs IRtle ftotti Rinakk», 
Raggiero, and Griffone, or from the valiant Saracen knights. In 
respect to valour and bodily prowess, as they are all raised above 
the level of nature, Ihere are so means of distinguishing them 
from each other ; and, as to characters, there are properly only 
two, to which all the rest may be referred. One half of the he- 
roes. Christians as wefl as Pagans, «re mild, generous, and benevo-^ 
tent ; the other half, satage, arrogant, and cniel« Nor are the 
cbaracterstif the #6men moi^e bappHy delineated. That of An- 
gelica scarcely leaves a recôltéctibn which we can seize. All the 
others are confounded together, except that of the Amazon Bra- 
damante^ the only one for whom we, perhaps, feel a personal 
interest. - ^ ' 

The versification of Ariosto is more distinguished for grace, . 
jiweetness, and elegance, than lor strength* The opening of all 
his cantos is adorned, thrwrig^ot^ with the rldvest poetry ; and 
the langnage is so pèrfecffy hàrtnoîstôùé, that tid poet, either before 
or after him, can be, in this point, compared to him. Every de- 
scription is a pii-tnre ( and th^ eyee of the reader follow the pen 
of the poet. As be always sports with hissnbjeel, with his readers, 
and even with bis style, he rarefy sèartf, and never attempts that ^ 
majestic flight which belongs to tbe epic muse, tie even seeks 
facility and grace in negligence itself ; and it often happens that he 
repeats many words of a verse in tbe following one, like tbe ner- 
rator of a tale» who repeats bis words in order to cQUect hia 
thoughts.* The words are frequently thrown together negligent- 
ly, and as if by chance. We perceive that the most eligible words 
are not made use of ; that parts of lines are inserted for the sake of 
tbe rhyme ; and that the poet has been desirous of writing like an 

, I 

^ Ma qulvi giunse - 
In fretta an Messsggier cBe gli disgiunse. 
Vi giuâsé uA Messàggier, etc. 


bnpravisaiorey who, id reciting, is carried away by his tabjectf aÂd 
coBteoU himself with ûUiog op his verse, io order to arrive sooner 
at the erent, or description which has possessed his inii^g;inatioDw 
This négligence, in others, would be considered as a faalt ; but 
Ariosto, who gave a h^ polish to bis verses, and who designedly 
left these trregoUrities, h«<s in his language, when he surrenders 
himself lo the loipalse of bis genius, such an inimitable grace, that . 
we gladly acquiesce in his negligence, and admit it as a proof of 
his happy genioii, and of the tru^ of his narration* 

We occasionally meet with passages highly pathetic, in this 
light and graceful poet. Thu«^ the circumstance which has given 
a name to the poem, the pai^ of love which caused the aaadness 
of Orlando, is gradually developed with a truth, delicacy of senti- 
ment, and eloquence of passion, wholly unrivalled. The Paladin 
of Charlemagpe finds traced, on the rock of a grotto, verses by 
Medoro, in which he extols his bliss, derived from the partial 
love of AngeUca*^ 

Three tnBM he reads, as oft he retfds agatn- 
The cruel linei^: as oft he strives in vain, 
To give each sense the Ûe, and fondly tries 
To disbeliere the witness of his eyes ; 
While at each word he feels the jealous smart. 
And sudden coldness freexing at his heart. 
Fiz'd on the stone, in stiffening gaze, that proved 
His secret pangs, he stood, with looks unmoved, 
A breatbing statue t while the godlike light 
^ Of reason nearly seem'd eclipsed in night : 

^ Confide in him, who, by experience, knows 

This is the wo' surpassing other woes! 
From his sad brow the wonted cheer is fled ; . 
V Low on his breast declines fiis drooping head ; 

Nor can he find (while grief each sense o^erbean)- 

Voice for his plaints, or moisture for his tears : 

Impatient sorrow seeks its way to force. 

But with too eager baste retards the course. 

As when a foll-brimm'd Tase/wlth Ample waist 

And slender entrance formM is downward ptac'd, 

And stands reversed» the rushing waters pent . 

All crowd at once to itsue at the vent ; 

The narrow vent the struggling tide restrains, 

And scarcely drop by drop, the bubbling liquor drains, t 

He still panses ; and lie cannot believe that Angelica is faith^ 
less» until he is convinced by the recital of a shepherd, who had" 

♦ [The extracts are from' Hoole's Translation. — TV.] 

t Tre volte e quattro e sei lesse lo seritto 
Quelle infelice, e pur cercando in rano 
Che non ri fosse quel che v' era seritto, 
E sempre lo Tedea più chiaro e piano. 
Et ogni volta, in mezzo il petto afiiitto, 
Stringèrsi il cor sentia con fredda mano ; 
Rimase al fin con gli occhi-e con la mente 
Fissi nM sasso, al sasso indifférente. 

UHloMMd hev infidelii^. He fliea ioto the forest, bôt in Tain 
«bnos tbe eje o£maa. H«)igaia«eeft the inscription on the rock^ 
wiuQb cooverts- his profound grief into rage. 

Through the still night, the Earl, from shade to shade» 
Thus lonely roved, and, when the day displayed ^ 
Its twilight gleam, chance to the fountain led 
Kb wandering course, where first his ftite he read 
In fond Aiedoro'é strains. The sight awakes 
His torpid sense, each patient thought forsakes 
His maddening heart, that rage and hatred breathes ; 
And from his aide he swift the sword unsheathes. 
He hews the rock, he makes the letters fly ; 
The shattered fragmenta movnt into the sky .* 
Hapless the cave whose stones, the tree whose rind. 
Bear with Angelica Medoro joinM ! 
From that cursed day no longer to receiTO, 
And flocks or swains, with cooling ^ade, relieve ; 
While that fair fountain, late so silvery pure, 
Remain'd as little from his rage secure : 
Together boughs and earthen clods he drew. 
Crags, stones, and trunks, and in the waters threw ; 
Deep in its bed, with ooze and mud he piled 
• The murmuring current, and its spring defiled. 

His limbs now moisten'd with a briny tide. 
When strength no more his senseless wrath supplied, 
Low on the turf he sunk, unnerved and spent, 
All motionless, «his looks on heaven intent, 
StretchM without food or sleep ; while thrice the sun ' 

Had stay'd, and thrice his daily course had run. 
The fourth dire mom, with frantic rage possess'd. 
He rends the armour from his back and breast} 
Here lies the helmet, there the bossy shield, 
Cuishes and cuirass farther spread the field. 
And all hb other arms, at random strew'd. 
In divers parts, he scatters through the wood ; 
Then, from his body, strips the covering vest, 
And bares his sinewy limbs and hairy chest ; 
And now begins such feats of boundless rage, 
As, far and near, the astonish'd world engage.** 

Fù alhora per uscir del sentimento ; 
Si tutto in preda del dolor si lassa : 
Credete a chi n' ha fatto esperimento 
Che questo e M duol che tutti gl' altri passa. 
Caduto gli era sopra il petto il mento. 

La fronte priva di baldanza e bassa, ^^ 

Ne potè aver, che '1 duori' occupd tanto, .^ 

A le qaerele voce, humors al pianto. 

Canto ^3, at. IIS, 113. 

* £ stanco al fin, e al fin di sudor moUe, 
Poi che la lena vinta non risponde ^ 

A 1Ô sdmo, al grave odio, a I'ardente^ira, 
Cade suTprato, e verso il ciel sospira. ' 
Vol. h 34 


We find another passage equally pathetic, where Ariosto re- 
connts, in the twenty-fourth canto, the death of Zerhino, the 
generous son of the King of Scotlaqd, who had collected together 
the arms which Orlando, in his madness, had left scattered in the 
field. He formed them into a trophy, to be preserved for the 
Paladin, when he should be restored to reaso/i and was soon 
called on to defend them, as the Moor, Mandricardo, had pos- 
sessed ♦himself of Durandal, the famous sword of Orlando. 
But, in his combat with this cruel enemy, the arms were too une- 
qual. Those of Mandricardo were charmed; and the armour of 
Zerbino was shattered by every stroke of the terrible Durandal. 
The two damsels, who follow the warriors, prevail on them, at 
length, to suspend their combat, and to separate ; but Zerbino's 
wounds were too deep to be staunched. In the midst of the forest, 
alone with Isabel, his love, his blood flows fast, his anguish in- 
creases, and life ebbs away. 

Though scarce Zerbino now his seat maintains. 

So fast his blood has flow'd, so fast it drains, 

Yet self-reproach afflicts his noble mind. 

For Durindana to the foe resign'd. 

His pains increase; and soon, with shortening breath, 

He feels the certain chill approach of death. 

Th* enfeebled warrior now his courser stays, 

And near a fountain's side his Un^bs he lays. 

Ah ! what avails the wretched virgin's grief? 

What can she, here, to yield her lord relief? 

In desert wilds for want she sees him die, 

No friend to help, no peopled dwelling nigh, 

Wherp she, for pity or reward, may find 

Some skilful leech, his streaming wounds to bind. 

In Tain she weeps ; in vain, with frantic cries, 

She calls on Fortune, and condemns the skies*. 

" Why was I not in surging waters lost, 

When first my vessel left Galicia's coast ?^' 

Zerbino, as his dying eyes he turn'd 

On her, while thus her cruel fate she mourn'd^ 

More felt her sorrows,. than the painful strife 

Of Nature, struggling on the verge of life.* 

Afflitto e stanco al fin cade ne I'herba, 
£ ficca gli occhi al cielo, e non fa motto ; 
Senza cibo e dormir cosî si serba 
Che '1 sol esce tre volte, e torna sotto. 
Di crescer non cessô la pena acerba 
Che fuor del senno al fin I'ebbe condotto. 
II quarto di, dal gran furor commosso, 
£ maglie e piastre si stracciù di dosso. . 

Canto 23, «t. 131. 

* Per debolezza piu non potea gire. 
Si elle iermossi a pie d'una fontana ; 
Non sa che far, ne che si debba dire 
Per aiutarlo la donzella hamana. 




" My heart's sole treasare ! mayVt thou still (he said) 
When I, alas ! am numbered with the dead, 
Preserve my love. Think not, for death 1 grieTO ; 
But thee, thus guidelAs and forlorn, to leave, 
Weighs heavy here. Oh ! were my mortal date 
Prolonged to see thee in a happier state, 
BlessM were this awful hour ; content, in death, 
On that loved bosom to resign my breath. 
But sumraon'd now, at Fate*8 unpitying call. 
Unknown what future lot to thee may fall — 
By those soft lips, by those fond eyes, I swear. 
By those dear locks, that could m > heart ensnare ! 
Despairing, to the shades of night I go. 
Where thoughts of thee, left to a world of wo, 
Shall rend this faithful breast with deeper pains, 
Than all that Hell's avenging realm contains." 
At this, sad Isabella pourM a shower 
Of trickling tears, and lowly bending o*er. 
Close to his mouth her trembling lips she laid ; 
His mouth now pale, like some fair rose decay'd ; 
A vernal rose, that, croppM before the time, 
Bends the green stalk, and withers ere its primt. 

" Think not, (she said,) life of my breaking heart ! 
Without thy Isabella to depart : 
Let no such fears thy dying bosom rend ; 
Where'er thou go'st, my spirit shall attend. 
One hour to both shall like dismission give, 
Shall fix our doom in future worlds to live. 
And part no more. When ruthless death shall close 
Thy fading eyes, that moment ends my woes ! 

Sol di' disagio lo vede à morire, 
Che quindi è troppo ogni città lontana, 
Dove in quel punto al medico ricorra, 
'Che per pietade o per premio '1 soccorra. 

Ella nqn sa se non in van dolersi, 
Chiamar fortuna e 'I cielo empio e crudele. 
Perche, ahi lassa I dicea, non mi sommersi 
Quando levai ne l'Océan le vêle ? 
Zerbin, che i languidi occhi ha in lei conversi, 
Sente più doglià ch' ella si querele, 
Che de la passion tenace e forte 
Che l' ha condotto ornai vieino a morte. 

Cosi, cor mio, vogliate (le diceva) 
Dapoi ch' io sarà morto, amarmi ancora, 
Como solo il lasciarvi è che m'aggreva, 
Qui senza guida, et non già perch' io mora ; 
Che se in secura parte m'accadeva 
Finir de la mia vita I' ultima ora, 
Lieto e contenlo e fortunato a pieno 
Morto sarei, poi ch' io vi moro in seno. 

A questo la mestissima Isabella 
Declinando la faecia lacrimosa, 
£ congiungendo la sua bocca a quella 
Di Zerbin, languidetta corne rosa, 


Or, should Ï still survive tliat stroke of grief, 

At least thy sword will yield a sure reKef. 

And ah I I trust, relieved from mortal «tatc, ^ 

Each breathless cors^ will meet a milder fatef 

Whe^i some, in pity of our hapless doom. 

May close our bodies in one peaceful tomb." ^ 

Thus she ; and while his throbbing pulse she feels, 
Weak and more weak, as death relentless steals 
Each vital aense, with her sad lips she drains 
The last faint breath of life that yetremadns. 


To raise his feeble voice Zerbino tried — 
"I charge thee now, loved in death ! (he cried,) 
By that affection which thy bosom bore, 
When, for my sake, thou left'st thy father's shore, 
And, if a truth like mine such power can give. 
While Heaven shall please, I now command thee live : 
But never be it from thy thoughts removed. 
That, much as man can love, Zerbino loved. 
Fear not but God, in time, will succour lend, 
I From every ill thy virtue to defend ; 

As once he sent the Roman knight, to save 

Thy youth, unfricnded,-flrom the robber's cave ; 

As from the seas he drew thee safe to land. 

And snatch'd thee from th» impure Biscayner'» hand. 

And when, at last, all othçr hopes we lose. 

Be death the last sad iwfuge that we choose.'* 

Thus spoke the dying knight : but scarc6 were heard 
His latter words, in accents weak preferr'd. 
Here ended life. 


The death of Isabel herself is related ki the twenty-first canto, 
in a manner infinitely tooching. Bnt Arioato, less than any author, 
requires illustration by fragments or translations, since he is so 
generally known ; and those who have not yet read him, cannot 

Rosa non colta in sua stagion, si eh' ella 
ImpalUdisca in su la si«pe ombrosa, 
Disse, non vi peusate già, mia vita, 
Far senza me quest' ultima partita. 

Zerbin, la debil voce rinforzando, 
Disse : io vi prego e supplico, mia ^va. 
Per quello amor che mi mostraste, quaodo 
Per me lasciaste la paterna riva ; 
£ se comandar posso, io vel comando, 
Che fin che piace a Dio restiate viva : 
Ne mai per caso poniate in oblio 
Che quaoto amar si puô v' abbia amato io. 

Non credo che quest' ultime parole 
Potesse esprimer si che fosse inteso; 
£ fini come il debil lume saole 
Cui cera manchi od altro in che sia aeeMo. 

potttbfy^ from the tranriation of a few stanzaiy form any idea of 
the gi«ce whidh pert adea the whole poem, where the «tyle« the 
encikating language» and the oature of the omameott, are ib per* 
feet haroaeny with the «abject. 

The glory of Ariosto is attached to hia Orlando Ferioao ; hot 
this ia not his only work which remains to as. He wrote five 
comedies, of five acts eath, and in verse, which are not now per« 
formed, and are scarc^y read, since they no longer accord with 
the manners of the preset day. Of these five, the two first were 
originally wi;itten in prose, in his early youth. Ariosto proposed 
to himself Pia^ttas and Terence^ as models ; and as they had 
copied the Crreek drama, so he imitated the Latin. We find, in 
hiiB pieces, all the characters of the Roman comedy : the slavM» 
the parasites, nurses, and female adventurers. The «oeoe of the 
first, La Cassarta, is laid at Mitylene, in an island of Greece, 
where the poet might suppose the manners -to be such as wiMild 
harmonize with his fable* But the second, I Supponti^ is laid at 
Ferrara ; and the plot is artfully connected with the taking of 
Otranto by the Turks, on the twenty-first of Aogaat, 1480 $ which 
gives a date to the action, and a locality to the scene. Nor can 
we a^oid'Femarking the singular contrast between ancient man- 
ners and a modem snb^ect. Still, the plot of the comedy is novd 
and engaging ; and there is an interest and even a sensibility ia 
the part of the father. There is, too, sometimes, a gayety, 
though rather forced than natural. The wit is rather Italian than 
Roman. The pleasantries of the slaves and parasites of Anoato 
recall to mind too strongly the same personages in Flaotus and 
Terence, and erudition often usurps the place of hamonr. The 
scene, after the manner of the Latin comedies, is laid in the street 
before the house of the prtncipHl personage. It never varies ; and 
the unity of time is aa rigorously observed as that of thé pluce ; 
but, aa on the Roman stage, the action is more related than seen. 
The anther ween» afraid of placing before the eyes of the specta- 
tors, situations of passion, and the language of the heart. In one 
pieee, in which love and paternal affection are the two leading 
subjects, there is not a single scene between the lover and his 
mistress, nor between the father and the son ; and the incident 
that prodocefi the catastrophe, passes in the interior of the house, 
al a distance from the eyes '^of the audience. Every thing in 
these pieces reminds us of the Roman theatre. They are inge- 
niously, though coldly, wrought. Every thing is imitated, even 
to the bad taste of the pleasantries, which are not sallies of wit, 
as with our modern harlequins, but coarse classical jokes. We may 
observe, in the comedies of Ariosto, a powerful talent, corrupted 
by servile imitation ; and in perusing them, we perceive the reason 
why the Italians, relying always on the ancient models, and never 
consulting their native genins, were so late in eiccelling in the 
dramatic art. La Calandray of Bernardo Dovizio, afterwards Car- 
dinal Bibbiena, who disputes with Ariosto the merit of introducing 



Italian comedy, has all the same defects, and die same classical 
imitatioD, with more vulgarity and less wit. The subject is that of 
the Meneehmi^ so often produced on the theatres ; but, in La Ca- 
lamdra^ the twins, who are confounded with one another, are a 
brother and titter. 

Ariosto was the first to perceive, that the Italian language did 
not possess a versification adapted for comedy. Like DoTizio, 
he wrote bis two first pieces io prose ; and, at the end of twenty 
years, turned them into versi tdruccioli^ for the theatre at Ferrara. 

The vtrti idrucdoli are formed of twelve syllables. The ac- 
cent is laid on tne antepenaltimate» and the two last are not 
accented. But these pretended verses are not rhymed, and so 
many breaks are permitted, that a word is often divided, as in the 
word cantinua-mente^ so that the four first syllables terminate the 
first verse, whilst the two following commence the second verse. 
They are, in short, devoid of all harmony and poetic charm, and 
their monotony renders the reading of these comedies tedious. 

Ariosto composed many sonnets, madrigals, and canzoni. They 
possess less harmony than the poetry of Petrarch, but more na- 
ture. His elegies, entitled Capitoli Amorosi, in terza rtma, will 
bear comparison with the most touching passages in Ovid, Tibul- 
lus, and Propertios. Love, however, appears there under the 
romantic form ; and Ariosto, though a rival of the ancients, is not, 
here, their imitator. He more frequently celebrates the joys than 
the pains of love. What we gather from his own poems respect- 
ing himself, does not represent him as a melancholy or sentimental 
man. Lastly, he composed several satires, which serve to elaci- 
date his character, and the various events of his life. These are, 
strictly speaking, epistles, in verse, addressed to his friends, and 
which did not appear until after h'Ui death. We do not ûûd in 
these, either the vigour or the asperity of the Roman satire. On 
the contrary, we remain persuaded, in reading them, that Ariosto 
was an amiable man, impatient only of the misfortunes which he 
suffered, of the errors of those who surrounded him, and, above 
all, of the prosaic spirit of the Cardinal d'£ste, who was incapa- 
ble of appreciating his merits. We perceive that he was mach 
occupied with himself,*' and that his health, his comfort, and his 
diet, held more place in his thoughts than we might have expected 
in one who sang of knights-errant ; who assigns to his heroes a 
couch in the forest, without any other covering than the heavens, 
or any other food than the roots of the earth ; and who, in the 
long adventures, through which he leads them, seems to forget 
that they are subject to all the natural wants of life.* 

* I cannot^ 1 think, close a chapter, devoted to Ariosto, in a more appro- 
priate manner, than by eihibiting him as characterixed by the first of oar 
liring poets, M. Delilie, who thus describes him in his poem Sur V hnngmaHm. 



L'Ariofte naqoH ; antoiw de son bereMn, 
Touf ces légers esprits, sigets brillans des I3e«, 
Sur un char de saphirs, des plumes pour trophées, 
Leurs cercles, leurs anneaux et leur baguette en main, 
Au son de la guitare, au bruit du tambourin, 
Accoururent en foule, et f6tant ^a naiatianee, 
De combats et d'amour l>ercèrent son enfance. 
Un prisme pour hochet, sous mille aspects diTori, 
Et sous mille couleurs, lui montra TUnivers. 
Raison, gaîtè, folie, en lui tout est ettrème ; 
il se rit de son art, du lecteur, de lui-même, 
Fait naître un sentiment qu 'il étouffe soudain ; 
D *un récit commencé rompt le fil dan« ma main, . 
Le renoue aussitôt, part, s^élè?e, s^abaisse. 
Ainsi, d'un vol agile essayant ta souplesse, 
Cent fois l' oiseau volage interrompt son essor. 
S'élève, redescend, et se relève eneor. 
S'abat sur une fleur, se pose sur un chêne : 
L'heureux lecteur Sè livre eu charme qui 1 entraine ; 
Ce n'est plus qu'un enfant qui se plaft aux récita 
De géans, de combats, de fantômes, d'esprits. 
Qui, dans le même instant, désire, espère, tremble, 
S'irrite ou s'attendrit, pleure et rit tout ensemble. 


We cannot refiise ourselves the pleasure of giving the whole of the vary 
picturesque and animated description, alluded to in page S50, of the preceding 
chapter, in addition to the stanzas cited by M. Sismondi ; availing ourselves 
of an excellent translation, to be met with in the Rev. W. Parr Greswell's 
Memovra of Poltftono ; a work abounding in classic elegance and research, not 
unworthy of the great scholars whom it commemorates. In many of his 
translations, the author has very hftppiiy caught the easy and polished style 
peculiar to Politiano, and to a very few other poets of the Medieean age* Tnis 
beautiful episode opens with the following line : 


Ma fatto amor la sua bella vendetta," etc. 

Now, in hb proud revenge exulting high. 

Through fields of air, Love speeds his rapid flight, 

And in his mother's realms, the treacherous boy 
Rejoins his kindred band of flutterers light ; 

That realm, of each bewitching grace the joy, 
Where Beauty wreaths with sweets her tresses bright. 

Where Zephyr importunes, on wanton wing. 

Flora's coy charms, and aids her flowers to spring. . 


Thine, Erato ! to Love's a kindred name ! 

Of Love's domains instruct the bard to tell ; 
To thee, chaste Muse I alone 't is given to claim 

Free ingress there, secure firom e^ery spell : 
Thou rul'st of soft amours the vocal frame. 

And Cupid, oft, as childish thoughts impel 
To thrill with wanton touch its golden' strings, 
Behind his winged back his quiver flings. 



A mount o'«rWokfl Ike 9b99mis^ QypiMMi Ipkt 
'Whence, toivttrds tjie morn's tot blush, tho ejo^mbUme 

Might reach the t eveaMl courae of mighty Nile ; 
But ne*er may moiDal fpot that protf^ct cUmb ; 

A verdant hill o'eihangs its higheat pile, 

Whose base, a plain, that laqgba in vernal primes 

Where gentlest airs, midst flowers and herbage gay» 

Urge o'er the quivering blade their wanton way^. 

A wall of gold secures the utmost bound, 
And, dark with viewless shade, a woody vale ; 

There, on each branch, with youthful foliage crowo'd. 
Some feathered sonn^ler chaunts hi» amorous tale ; 

A&d join'd, in murmurs soft, with grateful sound. 
Two rivulets glide pellucid through (be dale i 

Beside whose streams, this sweet, thai bitter found» 

His shafts of gold. Love tempers for the wound* 

No flow'rets hc^re decline their wlther'd heads, 
Blanch'd with cold snows, or frijoged with hoar-frost sere; 

No Winter, wide, his icy mantle spreads ; 
No tender scion rends the tevipest drear. 

Here Spring eternal smiles ; nor varying leads 
His change quadruple, the revolving year : 

Spring with a thousand blooms her brows entwined. 

Her auburn locks light fluttering in the wind* 

The inferior band of Loves, a childish throng, 
Tyrants of none, save hearts of julgar kind. 

Bach other gibing with loquacious tongue, 
On stridulous stones their barb.ed arrows grind: 

Whilst Pnuiks 4md Wiles, the rivulet's marge along, 
Ply at the whirling wheel, their task assign'd ; 

And on the sparkling stone, in copious dews, 

Tain Hopes and vain Desirçs the lymph efiiiae» 

There pleaeing Pain and flattering fond Delight, 

Sweet broils, caresses sweet, together go ; 
Sorrows, that hang their heads in dolefbl pl^ht, 
I And swell with tears the bitter streamlet's flow ; 
'Paleness all wan, and dreaming still of slight. 

Affection fond, with Leanness, Fear, and Wo ; 
Suspicion, caeting round his peeting eye. 
And o'er the midway, dancing, wanton Joy. 

Pleasure with Beauty gambols ; light in air, 
Bliss soavs inconstant ; Anguish sullen sits ; 

Blind Error .flutters, bat-like, here and there ; 
And Frenzy raves, and strikes his thigh by fif« i 

Repentance, of past folly hate awaiit. 
Her fruitless penance there ne'er intermits ; 

Her hand with gore fell Cruelty distains, 

And seeks Despair in death to end his pains. 

CSestures and nods, that inmost thoughts Uapart^ 
Illusions silent, smiles that guile intend, 

The glance, the look, that speak th^ impassion'd heart, 
Mid flow'ry haunts, for youth their toihi suspend : 

And never from his griefs Complaint apart, 
Prone on his palm his face Is seen to bcind ; 

Now bene»— now thence — in unrestrained guiae. 

Licentiousness on wing capricious flies. 

OF TH£ ITALIANt^. ^73 


Such miniiten thy progeny attend» 
Venus ! fiur mother of each iHttering power: 

A thousand odours from those fields ascend, 
While Zephyr brings in dews the pearly shower; 

Fann'd by his flight, what time their )ncense blend 
The lily, violet, rose, or other flower ; 

And yiewe, with conscious pride, the exulting scene, 

-Its mingled azure, Tcrmil, pale and green. 

The trembling pansy rirgin fears alarm ; 

Downward, her modest eye she blushing bends : 
The lauding rose, more specious, bold, and warm, 

Her ardent bosom ne'er from Sol defends-: 
Here, from the capsule bursts each opening charm, 

FolNblown, Ih' inrited hmd tJie bare attends ; 
Here, she, who late with fires delightful glow'd, 
Droops languid, with her hues the mead bestrew'd. 

In showers descending, courts th' enamoured air 
The violet's yellow, purple, snowy hues ; 

Hyacinth I thy woes, thy bosom's marks declare ; 
His form Narcissus in the stream yet views ; 

In snowy vest, but fringed with purple glare. 
Pale Clylia still the parting sun pursues ; 

Fresh o'er Adonis, Venus pours her woes ; 

Acanthus smiles; her lovers Crocus ehows. 

To these, we shall beg leave to add a translation of a little irregular piece, 
•entitled *' Le Montanine," very pleasingly rendered, by the same pen, firem 
(the Italian of Politiano : 

Vaghe le Montanine e pastorelle, 
Donde venite si leggtadre e belle Î 

Maids of these hills, so fair ud gay, 

Say whenc<^ you come, and whither stray ? \ 

From yonder heights : our low!^ shed» 

Those dumps that rise so green, disclose ; 
There, by our simple parents bred. 

We share their blessing and repose ; 

Now, evening fîrom the flowery close, 
^callS| where Tate our flocks we fed. 

Ah tell me in what region grew 

8och firuits, transcendii» ail compare ? 
Methinks, I Love's own offiipring view, 

Soeh graeee deck your shape and air; 

Nor gold, nor diamonds glitter there, 
Mean your attire, but angeb you. 

Yet well such beauties might repine 

'Mid desert hills and vales to bloom ; 
What scenes, where pride and splendour shine, 

Would not your brighter charms become ! 

But say, — with this your alpine home, 
Can ye, content, such bliss resign ? 
Vol. L .36 


Far happier» we, our fleecy care 
Trip lightly afUilr to the nead, 

Than, pent in city walla, your fair, 
Foot the gay dance in sUks «my'dt 
Nor wish have we, M|Te who should braid 

With goyest wreaths her flowing hair. 

In the same author's B*pe of Enropa, we likewise meel with abundance of 
poetical imagery, of which» we shall content ouraelfef with anljfolnhig the 
following, as an example : 

Beneath a snow-white bull's majestic |uiM, 
Here Jore, eoncealM by love's te^nsforming power, 

Exulting bears his peerless, blooming prize : 
With wild affright she views the parting shore ; 

Her golden locks, the winds that adverse rise» 
In loose disorder spread her bosom o'er ; 

Light floats her vest, by the. same gale^ upbono : 

One hand the chine, one grasps the circUog horn. 

Her naked feet, as of the waves afraid, 

With shrinking effort seem to avoid the main ; 
Terror and grief in every act — for aid 

Her cries invoke the fair attendant train : 
They, seated distant on the flow'ry mead, 

Frantic, recall their mistress loved, in Tain-— 
Return, fiuropa,; far resounds the cry ; 
On sails the God| intent on amorous joy. 


C »fo J 



Alamuud.— Bcnmdo TaMo.-«TVîMiao.— Tauo. 

Aaio&TO^did not aMame to hinMelf the honoots of the epic 
ittQie. Bat, wifchoat designiog to eoair bejond the romantic epic, 
which was inveorted beibre hia time, he carried it to the highest 
point of perfection. The glory which he reaped, eicited the 
emqlatioQ of the nomeroas poets who then crowded Italy ; and 
many of them^ despising the reputation which they might hare 
derived from the lighter compositions of the lyric mase, from ha- 
colics or didactic poems, were ambitions of distinguishing them- 
selves by a loftier and more enduring flight. Each of the fabu- 
lons Paladins of the coort of Charlemagne had his poet, in the 
siiteenth century ; and the Knights of the Round Table of King 
Arthur were all celebrated in turn. Two of these romances, in oc- 
^ve stanzas, the Crirone il eortese of Loigi Alamanni, and the Ama- 
die of Bernardo Tasso, have survived the shipwreck of the rest. 
The first is a work carefully composed by one of the most learn- 
ed men of his time, who had a talent for versification, and was 
not devoid of taste. But we feel sensible that he had too labori- 
ously and coldly studied the requisites for his undertaking ; and 
we may imagine that we see him in his room, intent on his work, 
and thus musing to himself; ** Let us commence with a brilliant 
invocation, in the manner of Virgil ; a bold simile will neit be 
required ; a degree of familiarity must follow, to explain our 
style, and to prove that we are not suitors to the loftier Muse 
alone. After that, we may allow our imagination to expatiate ; 
here, an incoherent image, which will show that we are carried 
away by our feelings ; there, a pastoral scene ; for variety suits 
the poetry of romance." Lulgi Alamanni has, indeed very well 
executed what he so pedantically proposed to himself ; but his 
Girone il eortese^ which is deficient neither in harmony of versifi- 
cation, nor in variety of incident, is a tedious production, and can- 
not, throughout, boast a line of inspiration. 

Alamanni was born at Florence, in 1495. His family was 
attached to the par^ of the Medici; but, when he saw the so- ^ 
yereign authority of his country usurped by that house, and 
tyrannically administered by the Cardinal Julian, he separated 
himself from his early connexions, and, in conjunction with his 
ii^dmate friend Macchiavelli, entered into a conspiracy against the 
Mehici, in 1622. The conspiracy was detected, and Alamanni 
had the good fortune to escape. An exile from his country, he 
wandered through different cities of Lombardy abd France, for 
the space of five years. He was recalled, and invested with 
magisterial functions, during the short-lived triumph of the re- 


publican partj ; but only to be proscribed afresh three yeaiv» 
afterwards, when Florence submitted to Alessandro de' Medicû 
From that period, he lived in France, attached to the ser?ice o^ 
Francis I., and was employed by him and by his son Henry II. in 
a diplomatic career, for which his judgment and acuteneas oF 
mind more eminently qualified him, than for the cultivation of 
poetry. He died in 1666. He has left us a poem on agriculture, 
w vernmoUi, or blank verse, in six books, containiAg about six 
thousand verses, enUtled La CoUivazione. This poem has pre* 
served a considerable reputation, from the great purity and ele- 
gance of the style, as well as from the methodical arrangement 
and the sagacity of its agricultural precepts ; but, although be 
Has the art of expressing himself poetically on such a subject, the ^ 
work IS, notwithstanding, tedious. An agriculturist would rather 
choose a well-written treatise in prose, and a votary of the Muse* 
would prefer a more animating theme.* 
Alamanni was also the author of an epic poem, called L'Avar^ 
' ÎL *^°^'^«^ travesty of the Iliad of Homer, in romantic 
verse. 1 he scene is transferred to Bruges, the ancient Avarcum; 

«i'^iîi^^^^^^ • '^^^^^ «f the TersUkatioB of Ala- 

Ma che direm da 1» ingegnoso inserto, 

cue in 81 gran maravigUa al mondo mostra 

Quel Ghe val 1' arte che a natura segua ? 

Queito, redendo una ben nata pianta 

1>' agresU abitator» talrolta prcda, 

GU ancide e 8pegBe,.e di dolcezza ornata 

WuoTa e bella colonia in essa adduce : 

We Si »degna ella, ina guardando in giro. 

Si beUa scorge I> adottiva piole, 

Che, i Ten figli^uoi posti in obblio, 

I-ieta e piena d' amor gli alUrui nutriscc. 

i; *rte e 1' ingegno qyfmille manière 

MaraTigliosamente ha poste in pruora. 

Quando è più dolce il ciel, chi prende in alto 

Lt somme cime più noTelle e verdi 

Del migUor frutto, e ri^ecando il ramo 

D UA altro, per se aller aspro e salyaggio. 

m, giovme e robuste, o '1 tronco isteiso. 

^J»"a in modo le due scorie insieme, 

Ch 3 r unj eV altro umor, che d' essi saglia, , 

Mwchiando le virtù, faccla indivisi ^ ' 

Il sapor e 1» odor, le frondi e i pomi. 

Çhi la gemma svegliendo, a V altra pianta 

Ja simil piaga, e per soave impiastro, ^^ 

Ben congiunta cd egual l' inchiude in essa. ^ 

Ohi de la seorza intera spogliaun ramo, 

In guisa di pastor ch' al nuovo tempo^ 

Faccia zampogne a risonar le valli, 

i. ne ri?este un altro in forma taie 

Che quai gonna nativa il cinga e copra. 



the besiegers are knights of King Arthur ; and the events ap& 
similar to those of the Iliad, and are related, book by boolk, inthe 
same order. 

Bernardo Tasso, who commenced writing his Amadis about the 
year tô4&, and published it in .1669, forty years after the appear- 
ance of the Orlando Furioso, was a gentleman of Bei^amo^ 
attached, from the year 1531, to the service of Ferdinando San 
Sevepino, prince of Salerno, and established by htm at Sorrento, 
where he remained until the year 1547. At that epoch, San 
Séverine, who had opposed himself to the intro<luclion of the In- 
quisition into Naples, was driven into revolt, and compelled to 
' embrace the party of France. Bernardo Tasso shared his mis- 
fortunes, and lost, through his fidelity, the situation which he had 
held at Naples. He then attached himself to the court of Urbioo, 
and afterwards to that of Mantua, at which latter city he died, on 
the fourth of September, 1569. It wa's during his residence at 
Sorrento, that his son, the illustrious Tasso, was born, on the 
eleventh of March, 1644; of whom we shall shortly speak, and 
whom the Neapolitan» claim aa their countryman, although his 
father was of Bergamo. 

Palci, Boiardo, and Ariosto, had transplanted into Italian poetryi 
the chivalrous romances of the court of Charlemagne, which we 
hav^e before placed in the third class. Alaraanni hdd versified 
those of the first, or of the court of King Arthur. Bernardo 
Tasso devoted himself to the second, and composed a poem, of. 
one hundred cantos, on the Amadis of Gaul, a romance equally 
claimed by the Spaniards and by the French. This romance is 
distinguished from others by a loftier enthusiasm of love, by richer 
imagination, and by a greater exaltation of all the chivalrous vir- 
tues ; although it is somewhat less engaging, and exhibits less of 
the marrellous in valour and exploits. It is from the expression 
of the warmer feelings of the South, rather than from historic 
proof, that we can confirm the claims of the Spaniards .to the first 
invention of the Amadis ; and it was probable, therefore, that it 
would appear to more advantage in a language of the South, than 
in the romances of the French. The first loves of the Damoisel 
de la Mer, yet a stranger to his origin, and of the tender and 
timid Oriana; the constant favour of the good fairy Urganda, ex- 
tended to all distressed lovers ; and the noble qualities of Amadis, 
who, without knowing Perion, king of the Gauls, delivers him from 
a thonsand dangers, and appears on all occasions, in for|ists and in 
castles, as the redresser of wrongs, aad the avenger of injuries, 
might furnish, for a poem, a subject full of charm, interest, and 
action* In such a poem, imagination should have less sway than, 
sensibility ; and the poet should not permit himself to trifle with 
the interest of the narrative, which ought to exercise dominion 
over the heart. But Bernardo Tasso was far from possessing, in 
the same degree as his son, or even as the original author whose 
narrative he translated, a meditative and poetic character. He* 


do«8 soty'U is trae, like AH«to, sport wiik kis salgect and hh 
veadera. Me is gpiVe and serious ; nor is any sally of wit oi 
pleasantry permitted in his recital. Bat we are displeased to find 
Hue* like AhostOy he taternipts bis narrative a hundred times, and 
abaedoBS his heroes at the most critical moment, whenerer he has 
excited oar interest in their Êivoiir. We feel, in reading htm, 
that he has prescrihed these intermptions to himself, in the way 
of art Th^ ocevr more freqaetitly than in Ariosto ; and in Ihk 
BMinner he entirely destroys the interest which coold alone gi?e 
satcess to his work. The style is agreeable, but «lot engaging, 
and m general more ornamented than poetic. The author, at ré- 
galer diitances, has placed simile and meUq>hor8, or other figures 
of speech, with which we are sare to meet again, after a certain 
namber of yeraes, and which appear at*8tated intervals, as boun- 
daries to mark his poetic route. The dramatic ffeirt is neglected, 
and the speeches have not the native charm of the originid Ama- 
dis. All these faults render so long a woik fatiguing to the 
reader ; and Bernardo Tasso would probably have been forgotteo» 
if the fame of his son had not preserved his memory.* 

If we find a spirit of pedantry introducing itself into the poetry 
of Romance, we may naturally suppose, that those poets, who 
formed themselves oh the chissic model, would be equally pedan- 
tic. Giovanni Giorgio Trissino, bom at Yicenza, on the eigbtk 
of July, 1478, was ambitious of giving to his country an epic 
poem« where no other imitation should be perceptible than such 

* One of tiie verj few poetical passages we meet with, in the prodnetieQ» 
of Bernardo Tasso, is, perbaps, to be found in the description given bjr the 
fairy Urganda to Oriana, of the birth and early adyentures of 1er Amadis. 
CoRlo yf. Stefws, 33 &e. 

We are informée how Perion, the King of the Gauls, wandering through his 
kmgdem in seireh of chinrfric adrentufes, obtained the afi^tions of the Kinc: 
of Brittany's daughter, an4wa^ compelled to leave ber, wbeii about to become 
a mother, in order to continue his career. We are then told the manner in 
whieh this princess, with the assistance of ber friend Darioletta, fearful of 
deteetion, consents to expose her infant to the waves, in a tittle berk floating 
on (he rifier near the palace, where the Naiads flew to its protection. 

Uscir le Dive, e da! liquide regno 
Uscendo a aara, di rose e di flori 
Spogliando i prati lor, cinsero il legno, 
Come si Suol le chiome a yincitori. 
Mostrar le sponde d' aflegresEa segno, 
B i vaghi augei, con garrnli nimori, 
Faceao, battendo 1* ali, compi^nia 
Al fanciul che felice se ne gia. 

Non for si tosto al mar, ch^ alto e sonante 
Prima era, ehe tum6 piano e quieto. 
Come ora che Nettuno trionfante 
Va per lo regno sue tranquillo e Heto ; 


as was deiired from an ardent study of the ancients. He demoted 
twenty years to this work, which he began to |»oblith in the year 
1647.' He chose for hi» subject, the deliverance of Italy fron 
the Goths, and Belisarias for his hero. It was impossible to luare 
entered on so gr4>at a task, with a higher réputation I ban Trisaino 
possessed. His extensive knowledge, and bis poetic genio», were 
respected by pontiffs and by princes. The nobject was noble, 
and of national interest ; the names already illustrions and popii«* 
kr; and the choice which he had made of blank verse, aiorded 
Um more freedom of thought, and an indulgence in a nsore ele* 
vated style. But these circumstance» served only to render hk 
iailare more remarkable. The verst sciolti are admirably adapted 
to tragedy, where the- language differs only from prose in beiif 
more dignified and more harmonious ; but* they are far remored 
froBi the ease and majesty of the Liatin hexameter, and becoaM 
tedious and prpsaic in a narrative, already, in its subject, too 
closely approximating to history. Trissino had not the art of 
elevating himself by dignity of expression, or by harmony of 
langnage, and, still less, by the majesty of the subject ; for, by an 
ill*-conceived imitation of/the ancients, he brings before hisi reader» 
the most trite and trivial circnmstancek Homer, indeed, followe 
bis heroes threpgb«ali the details of life. But these detail* pee*- 
Bess always, in tbeir simplicity, a dignitv peculiar to the beroie 
age ; whilst the court of Byznntium presents only the contrast of 
the insignificance of the men, and the solemnity of the ceremor 
niais. Trissino describes to us the toilet of Justinian. He relates 
how the emperor puts on a sncceseion of poaspowi robes, witfa: 
^hich the monarchs of the East are loaded ; but, in overwhelm- 
ing us with a torrent of words, be does not even siicceed in this 
idle description of ceremony. He never foi^gets the hour of 
repast; and his heroes deliberate, with solemn dulnesSi whether 
they should resume their duties before or after dinner. Not- 
withstanding all this labour, hë does not even describe the military 
feasts, or the manners of the age, with any degree of interest* 

Corsero tutti i Dei, corsero qiiante 
Ninfe quel fondo area cupo e segreto ; 
£ presa la casjsetta, accommiataro 
I Dei del fiume cbe I' accompagnaro. 

Non fà aleuna dt lor efae non pugesfe 
L'umida mano a lostenere il Icgno ; 
Nod fÙ aleuna di lor che nol cingesse 
Delle ricchezze del siio salio regno ; 
Nan <Û aleuna di k>r eke non aveiae 
Gioia e pietà del ikncialletto degno; 
Cosi per V onda aUev plaelda e pa» 
Lo condueea con ogni studio « eura. 

* Cosi quei ch' eran itati entr* al eonsiglio 
Rinehittsi alquaato, Ueti se n' andaro 
A prender cibo ne i diletti albeig hi. 
L' ordinator delle eitti del mondo 


in the second book, be details, with fatigping emditioDi io the 
first place, the gec^raphy and statistics of the empire, and, after- 
wards, the formatioD of the l^ends. Bat all is in the st^le of a 
gazette, witbont relieving the mnltitade of verses by the least in- 
terest or poetry, and without even affording instruction in the 
room of pleasare. We constantly perceive, that, amidst all his 
display of knowledge, he confonnds both time and manners. In 
his mythology, fantastically composed of paganism and Christianity, 
in which he invokes AboUo and the Mnses to interest themselves 
in the triamph of the faith, we find the attributes of the Deity in 
conversation %vith each other. The poverty of Ins style, which 
his gravity makes still more repulsive, the bad taste in which bk 
characters discourse, and the extreme tediousoess of the principal 
action, render this work, so long anxioudy expected, so celebrated 
b^ore its birth, and so distinguisbed by name even at the pre- 
sent day, one of the. worst poems that has ever appeared m any 

Sut, whilst men of the first reputation in Italy failed in the 
gigantic enterprise of producing an epic poem, a young man, of 
twenty -one years of age, scarcely known by a romantic poem 
called Rinaldoj commenced writing, at the court of Ferrara, 
whither he had beea lati^Iy invited, that Jtrmahm Deliitered^ 
which has placed its author by the side of Homer and of Virgil, 
and has elevated him, [^rhaps, above all modem poets. Tor- 
quato Tasso, whose misfortunes equalled his glory, devoted six- 

Dome (a dentio «IP onorata stanza, 
Spogliossi i^ ricco manto, e chiamar fece 
II buon Nanete, e Pbuon cont« d'lsaora ; 
E diMe ad ambi lor qoeste parole : 
Gari e pmdenti raiei mastridi guerra. 
Non ?i sia grare andare iosieme al campo, 
£d ordinar le genti in quella piaggia 
Grande ehe Ta dalla marina al rallo : 
Che dopo pranzo yd* venirTi anch' io' 
Ver dar principio alia futura impresa. 
Udito questo i did baroni eletti 
* Si dipartiro, e scesi entr* a] cortfle, 
DiBie Narsete al buon conte d'Isaura : 
Cbe Togliam fere, il mio onorato padre 7 
Volemo andare al nostro alloggiamento 
A prender cibo, e poi dopo '| mangiare 
Oirsene al campo ad ordinar le schiere ? 
A cut rispoae il Tecchio Paulo e disse : 
-O buon figlinol del generoao Araspol 
II tempo ch' insta è si fugi^ e corto 
Ch' a noi non ci bisogna perdern' oacia : 
Andiamo al campo, cbe sarem sul fetto ; 
E quiTi esmirem questi negoii, 
IB poscia cioerensi, benche è meglio 
Senza cibo restar che senza onore. 

te^ft^Ars lo the ootnpositîiTo'^r this poem, of which seven edi* 
lions ajppeared in ike same yet, 168), âtmost all wtthtnit the con- 
currence of the aathor. - ' 

Tb«f (Merit of Tm^ c0Mt^t6 i» ha^ffg tihoseo the most engaging 
sttt^eet^ that eonld hsMfe inspired :» modern poet. History pre- 
8eatii''a9'with the rëmftrkabïe fivdt oif "a wi^htj contest, between 
thejçec^who -wferé destinied to ei«rft-the human race to its 
highest pftdh .of' eivili2»ti0nj atid'th#se who wotitd have rédnced- 
it Uxihe^ tnoift:d«gfiidinig barbarism. Thw was the struggle be- 
t^^^dea'ithie'OfaisIsÀns^ ^ Saracens, ^dy^ing the wars of the cru-^ 
saâést > It is» not to be denied th^^, at the time the Latins first 
cofsdeaoed ifreée^wars, thé Saracens were greatly superior in 
Ie*lèÉrsyii»4rt!f^:and'tn>Dninners,'to theOhristians who attacked them. 
Belli ItiMy bid '«hwady passed thediendian of their glory ; and the 
débets of their redilgion^and their government, and th^ barbarisnni 
of'(ti]^"£arl^,trëre rapidly drawing them to the degrading state, 
i»vi^hi(sh> w« bBhoid thenar at th« pre^nt day. At the same time, 
tbé<èraliiders,' io-spite of theii* ferocity, ignomnce, and sitpersti- 
tioa,': pe98e8sed the germs of citlUeatioo. Their force of thought 
aaàjSHtiwint was aboni to develope that iroprovenMnt which be-' 
gi^v<ivith..the Lalms in* the ele tenth century, and which had ren- 
deBBeJd' .Bai^o|>e'SO far sdperior-io «he rest of the «rorld. If the' 
cnmdefd had succeeded in their sanguinary contest wHh the pteo- 
pkrof^he East, Asia would have received oar laws,- ottr manners, 
and «Mr ctisloms ; ahd wonid have been at this day a flourishing'' 
country, inhahited by a free aiM noble raee. The arts, for which 
she is formed by nature, would there have attained that perfec- 
tion which Was known to the Greeks, and which was found in the' 
brilliant and favoured cities of Seleucia and Antioch. Thç bor**^ 
defs- of the Jordan would no# have bteen cultivated by a htippy 
people ; and the - lofty walhi of Jerusalem ifrould not have stood 
isolated, in the mid^t of desert sands and rocks btfrren of VeMtfre. 
The fruitful plains of Syria, and the TieliciOus valleys of Lebanon ,- 
would have been the abode of peace and enjoyment, or thé thea-' 
treof tlve nriost brilliant actions. The overbearing Turk, the 
ferocious Druse, or the savage Bedouin, would not have op- 
pressed the wretched descendants of the most ancient people of 
the earth.' If the Mahomedans, on the contrary, had accomplished" 
their projects of conqueist; if the invasion of Europe, commenced 
at the same time in the East, in the West, and in the South, had 
succeeded, the energies of the human mind would have Seen et; 
tin'guished by despotism, and none of the qualKies, which chl^^cter-' 
ize the European, would have developed themselves. He would 
have been cowardly, ignorant, and perfidious, like the Greek, tHe 
Syrian, and the Fellah of Egypt.; and his country, less favouretr 
by nature, would have been buried amidst dark forests, 6r inoi)* 
dated by marshy waters, like «the deserted districts of RomAgnnl 
The contest was terminated, without victory declaring for either 
power. The Mahomedans and the Franks still exist, the sQd^^ 

Vol. I. 36 

2Sg on TH& LlT|iE4.YUll& . 

jecto of mutual cpmpariftOD ; . and (he.kUec m»y «ctaDOwMffBr 
after the lapsa of. seven ceptqrie^y their di^bt of graltlnde to IB0* 
Talour of their ruder ancestors. 

These two races of meoi wb^a they cepiibaUed^ sevesetalories 
ago» C00I4 not foresee the importaat eoDse<|«€ii<teft wbiob Provir 
daoce had attached \o their efforts. Bot a motive, not leas noble, 
not leas disioterestejd, and stiUraore poetical, -direeUë tbèîr arma* 
A religious iaith connected their salvation with their vdhiiir. Tbe 
Saracens considered thein£ielvea called on to subjugate the earth 
to the faith of Mahomet; the Cbristiana, lo enfrancbiaetbe aacsed. 
spot where their divine founder suffered death and the mjratenéa 
of redemption were accomplished. We are not bound Ibeologi* 
callj to inquire whether the crusvles were oonformaUe toâe 
spirit of Christianity. Were a Council of Clermont held Mi.<he 
present daj, the voice of the comtoatants wouM not kivocateiGreii 
alone, but honour, their country,, aed humaût j. Ekit the religten 
of that age wai wholly warlike ; and it was a prdfonnd, disidte-^ 
rested, and enthu»ia8tic sentiment which led our aocealota to bid 
adieu to their wi?e^ and childrent.te. travetse unknown aeas, and 
to brieve . a thousand deaths in a foreign land. Tbis acstioKiit 
was higÙy/poieticalH Self-devotion and confidence in heaven^, 
form btro^'^and accordingly .we never» at any period^heheldso^ 
brilliant a display of valour* Superatition arose out of the veiy. 
circumManoea of the times« Those who wholly devéted tbem<- , 
seUeEf to tbii service 0f God , «$gbt eipect tbatGpd would màtt'^ 
fere in their favour, and on.ibil uiteffereoce they. lepiMed. — 

" £b I qfiel teiB9f fut janais plus fbrtila en nuiaislet }» 

The whole . history of the crusade», indeed, abounds with mira-- 
cles. The asaistance of God was invoked before battle, hi» 
arm was yisible in their d^liverancei his rod cbaatised them in^ 
defeat ; and marvels were so very prevalent, that the supernatural' 
seemed to usurp the laws of nature and the conuaon coarse of 
events. The Mahomedans, on their side, relied alto on Divine 
protection. They invoked, in their mosques, with no leas confi<> 
dencei-the great defender of their faith ; and they attributed to 
his favour, or to his. anger, tbeiir victories and their disasterak 
The prodigies which each party boasted to have seen performed 
in their bebalf, were not denied by their enemies ; but» as each 
beloved themselves worshippers of the true God, so each attri- 
buted to tbe power of evil spirits the occasi,onal succeai of their 
opponents; The faith against which the crusaders fought, ap- 
peaf»d to them the worship of the powers of hell. They easily 
believed that a contest might exist between invisible boings, as 
between different nations 00 earth; and, wben T^wso arm^ ibe 
darJL powers of enchantment against the ChristiankfiigbtSybeoiiIy 
devel<>ped and embellished a popular idea, for the adoptiea of 
which Qi;ir education, our prejudices, and all our anâeot tradi- 
ttons have prepared us'. 

OF »fi tTALlAMS. MS 

Itie «eene of tbe Jtrntaltm Ddheptd^ no rich in recoUeetioni, 
:imd so brfHiant from its nssociations «fith all oar religions feeliofl, 
is one in whieh nature displays her richest treasares, and wbm 
descHplioBs, in their torn the inoHt loTely and the nost anstert, 
attract the pen of the poet. The enchanting gnrdens of Eden, and 
the sands of the Desert, are approximated. A.II the animah which 
man has hronght nnder his dominion, and all those that wage wtfr 
against him ; all the plants which adorn his domains, and all that are 
(band in the wilderness, belong to the raned soil of Asia, to that 
poetical land, where every otgect seems created to form a pic- 
ture. On the other hand, (he nations of Christendom send forth 
their warriors to the army of the Gross. The whole world is 
here the patrimony of the poet. He even calls oO the remote 
Iceland, separated from the rest of the world, La divisa dai tnêndo 
attima hlanda : on Norway, who sends her King Gernando, and 
oh Greece, who femishes only two handred kni^ts, A»r a war in 
which her own existence is at stnke. At the same time, all the 
people of Asia and Africa, nnited by a common canse, contribate 
to tne defence of Jerusalem, forces differing in manners, in dress, 
and in language. We may confidently assert, that however Itigh en 
interest the tailing of Troy might possess for the Greelcs,the first 
resolt of thetr combined efforts, and the first ttctbt>y which they 
bad gained over the people of Asia ; and whatever interest the 
vanity of the Romans had attached to the adrentares of JEneas, 
'whom their poetic fables led the Romans to adopt asHheir proge- 
nitor ; neither the Iliad nor the £neid possess the dignity of 
«object, the interest, at the same time, divine and htHnan, and the 
■varied and dramatic action, which are peculiar to the JtmHiîem 

On fint opening the poem of Tasso, we are struck with the 
«lagnificence of the subject. He lays it all before our' eyes in the 
ifirst stanza : 

Th' illiMtrious Chief who warred for Hearen, 1 stng, 
Aad drnrn fieoi Jmds* toorti Kh' insalliag fOog. 
Great were the deeds his uniM, his wUdomwrDUf^.; 
With many a t^il the glorious prize he bought : 
In tain did Hell in hateful league combine 
With rebel man, to thwart the great design ; 
. In tain the hamets'd f outh from Afric's toasts 
Join'd their proud arms with Asia's warli^ hosts ; 
Heafeo smU«d ; and bade the wand'riog bands obejr ' 
The sacred enà^ns of his lofty sway.* 

The witole course of the poem is truly epic It is entire, siqi- 
^le, and grand ; and ends, as it commenced, f^ith dignity. Tasso 
'does not undertake the whole history of the first crusade, but en^rs 
<m Us nction when the war had already begun. His whole poem 

^ [The extracts are taken &om Mr. Hunt's spirited translation. — Tr.] 


iscompriaed in the campaign of 1099, and in a spnte of time w^icb, 
nwprdmg to history, consists of no more «than forty dayflw.. This 
«ifaa ibe ^Ah year sJlter the piie^cbing of the crusades^^wlitlc]^ be- 
gan in 1095, and the third after the Latins passed into Asia» ^hieh 
happened in th^s month of May,, 1097. In that year, they had 
lafcen Nicea^and commenced the siege of Antiocb: Tb^l city, 
which had resisted tjheir arms for nine months, surirendered only 
in July, 1098. The Christians, exhausted by their struggles 
against the cpontless armies of their enemies, by a long famine, 
followed by pestilence, and discouraged and enfeebled still more 
by dissensions, had retired into their cantonments* But in the 
spring of the following.year, they asseoibled afresh in the plains 
of Tortosa. They commenced their march to Jerusalem, and 
arriving before that city, at the beginning of July, took it, after a 
.siege of eight days, on the fifteenth of July, 1099. They defended 
it against the Sultan of Egypt, whom they defeated at Ascalon, on 
the fourteenth of August following, and thus foupded the kipgdom. 
pf Jerusalem, where Godfrey of Boulogne ruled only for a year. 

The poem of Tasso opens in the plain of Tortosa. The Deity 
himself calls the .crusaders to arms. One of his angels appears to 
the pious Godfrey of Boulogne, reproaches the Christians with 
snpinepes^, proniises him victory, and announces to him the de- 
crees of God, who has elected l^im leader of the sacred host* 
Godfrey instantly assembles his companions in arms. By his elo- 
quence, he imparts to them the divine enthusiasm which animates 
his own breast, and a sudden inspiration determines the other 
warriors to choose him for their leader. He orders the army to 
prepare to march for Jerusalem, and is desirous of seeing it 
reunited on the field. This review, which acquaints us with 
the. most important persons of the poem, is a homage ren- 
dered to all the nations of the West, who flocked to this great en- 
terprise, and a poetical monument raised to the fame of thos^ 
heroes, whose glory is still reflected on their latest descendants. 
Tasso seizes the opportunity of exhibiting, in the Christian army, 
the ancestors of the princes whose protection be had ei^perienced ; 
but, above all, Gueifo IV. Duke of Bavaria, son of the Marquis 
d^Este, Alberto Azzo II., who died in Cyprus, on his return 
from the Holy Land, and Rinaldo, an imaginary hero, from whom 
Tasso has derived the family of Eaie, Dukes of Ferrara and Mo- 
dena, in whose court he lived. We also meet with the gene- 
rous Tancred, cousin of the celebrated Robert Ggiscard, who had 
just achieved the conquest of the Two Sicilies ; Raymond de Saint- 
Gilles, Count of Toulouse, the Nestor of the army ; and a crowd 
pf chiefs, whom the poet has invested with great interest of char 

On the other side, the Emir, lieutenant of the Sultap of Sgypt, 
whom Tasso has named Aladin, King of Jerusalem» prepares 
himself for defence. He is aided by the sorcerer Isroeno, whe. 



in order to fraitrate the «ttack of the Chrittttuif, wished to em* 
pioj, in his profane firt, a mirMCaloiH image of the Virgin, wh|ch 
was preserved in the temple. This image disappeared id the 
night. A prie&t of the temple, or, perhapa, a celi^atial power. 
had saved it from profanation. Sophronia, a jKMUig Christian of 
Jerusalem, accases herself of having stolen the image from the 
Saracens, in order to divert the anger of the king from her peo- 
ple. The love of Oliudo for Sophrooia, who wishes, in his turn, , 
to sacrifice himself for her; the cruelty of AlaHin, who. con- 
demns them both to death ; and the generosity of Clorinda, who 
saves them from the stake, form one of the most touching epi- 
jiodes of the JtrwaUm Delivered, This episode was translated bj 
J. J. Rousseau, and is, from that circumstaqce, better known to 
the French nation, than any other parts of the poem. This is a 
happy mode of introdaciog Clorinda, the heroine of the infidel 
army, to the reader. Her generosity is, thus, with great judg* 
ment, made known to us before her valour ; otherwise, thi» fierce 
Amazon, whom we always find in the midst of blood and combats, 
might have revolted our feeling?. Tasso, in his character of 
Clorindai has imitated Ariosto. He has borrowed from his Bra- 
damante or his Marfisa ; but heroines assimilate better wiih the 
chivfdroos rooMnce than with the epic, where probability is a more 
necessary quality. This character is, in fact, misplaced, in de- 
scribing the manners of the East, where a woman was never known 
to appear in arms or in the field. We more than once feel, in 
reading Tasso, that he has drawn his ideas of chivalry too fre- 
^ently from Ariosto, and from the ceh^brated romances of his 
time. Hence arises, sometimes, a mixt^ire of the two styles. 
Tasso ought not to have attempted to rival Ariosto, in the indnl*- 
geoce of a brilliant and romantic fancy, since his success here 
would have been a fault. Efut, however improbable bis Clorinda 
appears, it is in her character that bis greatest beauties are dist- 
played. In the same canto, Argaote, the bravest of the infidel 
heroes, appeai^s abo for the firiit time. He is sent on an embassy 
to the Christian camp, and he there manifests the fierce, impetu- 
ous, and ungovernable character which he is destined to support 
tbroughout the poem. 

At the opening of the third canto, as soon as morning dawns 
on the warriors, they commence their march with ardour, in the 
hopes of reaching the end of their pilgrimage. 

The eager bands, unconscious of their speed, 
With winged feet, and winged hearts, proceed. 
But when the Sun, now high advancing,, hurl'd 
His noon-tide flood of radiance o'er thie world, 
Lo I on their sight Jerusalem arose ! 
The sacred towers each pointiag. finger shows ; 
lemsalem vas heard from every tongue, 
(Jerusalem a thousand Toices rung. • 

^â66 ON TBS LITfiEaTUKfi 

Tiras, 4ome bold iBMtlieM, « liBrtIy btnd,- 
Wboié ▼«ntorotts tea^fli'fgipIfinM n disUnt landy . 
^d |)r»f ing dubious sets, and unkoowji skies, \ 
Tbe Ikilhless winds and treacherous billows tries ; 
' '1!l%Mi first Hie wish'd-for shore salutes their eye» - 
B «rstB tfroai .their ii^s at once the jo| Atl cry ^ 
£aeh «hpwf t|ie welcome soi^ add pleased at last» 
Forgets his weary way» and dangecspast.* 

^o.tïiis first 't4ra«isport of joy, a deep cootritioD soon aucceediB» 
which is {latiifallj excited in the devoi>t pilgrims, by the sight if 
a.citj which their <xQd chose, for his resideoce ; where. he died, 
aod was Jbunedi aod rose from the deà^« 

With naked feet they pressed the rugged road ; 

Their i^orious Chief the meek example showM ; 

iln pomp of dress, «aeh festure'i^ ^Mly IbM, 
' WUbfsilken dn^v gay«»or rich with gold»' 
' Qvick.thef strip of» andev'rjr heUa di?est 

Of painted plumage, aud of nodding crest : 

Alike they quit their beart*é proud guise, and pour 

Of penitebtiai tears a pious «bower. 

As soon as Alailki diseo¥êra the approach of Ibe Christiana» he 
•acoda oottbia fldwer i^f ins ariqy to pP€««nt.ibeir naarer approach 
to Jerasialena* He hiosself asrenda a tower» which o^nMMiida aa 
«BtaMira Tiew of Ibe country., 40 see the anmes. defile^ He is 
•ccoratiaoied bj Ermiaia, dau|i|}biter of the Siihan of, Aptioch, 
whose father «tid wheae breSher àad pcnsbed the preoediqg. yen 
by the Chrislian sword ; iHit<w!hov«<ytwitihstaBdin^, ksMfW nétiMff 
to steel her heart egiainst (èied>rHsreat aad the aoblest of the Cea- 
sadera. Abdin inlerrngates Aér as to Ihe aaiiice and -the cooalrjr 
^f ihe knig^ whom he observes to distiagnisb tftealsel^ea aiost 
bighly by their yalovr. Taoeted is ihe.firol^ and îé recegnisiDg 
hiai, a sigh escapes fpoaft the biMOoi of Ëmioiayawl ber eyee^e 
<Nitbed in tears. Tancréd biowelf, ifasênsibletothèiéve Of |Sr« 

^ AH ha eiascano al core, ed ali «I pieds. 
Ne del suo ratto andar per6 s' accorge ; 
Ma ^ando il sol gli aridi canlpi fiede . 
Con raggi assai ferrenU, e in alto sQZgc« 
Ecco ! apparir Gienisalem si rede 
Ecco I additar dierusalem si scorge, 
Ecco t da mille Toci unitamente 
'Oierosalemme salutar si sente. 

CosI di aaviganri audsee studio 
Che mora a ricctcar e s tr aw i u lido ; 
B in nwr dUbHoso, e sStlo ignoto pels, 
Profi 1' oads Mlaei K tiFento infldo, 
S' al fin discopre il dfsiatÀ saole, 
liO sahita da luiige In Mto grido: " 
E r uno à I' altro P mos^Tra, e in taato ojbMia ' 

S^a noia e M mal de fa paseata tIs. 

(kmio 3^ 4. 

BHnia, which he hat noi et 011 'remrkcd, is ebanuMirdd of Clorin- 
da, with whom iié utiknovi^ingly combatfl. With a blow of his- 
spear, he sfrikes off her helmet. 

The t)ioDn that bncsd her helm, asander flew ; 
With ntlml head» she stood« exposed to view ; 
> Loé0^to thewiad hergoMèn tDBMm«ti%flai'd; ' 
> , . . lAnd 'ppid tliQ «torm pf war the 9m of be«uty beamM. 
. . , i^aih'd her bright eyes with an|er« a^rn açd wiid> 
Yet loVelj still ;' how lorelj had she smUe^ ! 

Tancred, theoc^fbrth» defends hûnself no longer againsi the fail" 
Amazon. Whilst she presses on him witb her sWord, he urges 
his sait ; hut a crowd of routed Saraqens separate them from eac]h 

From the commencement of the poem, the most tender senti- 
ments are thus combined with the action ; and in the Jerusalem- 
Delivered^ a nobler part has been assigned to K>Te, than has been 
given to it in any other epic poem« This- part is c«nffbrmable to 
what is required from the epic reinance, which is mote elevated 
in its nature, more reIig|oi4$», and, conseqi^entlj^more in unison 
With the soAer passion. Lf^ve, ei»thtttiasiic,; reapecttfbl, and fulf 
of homage, was an essential charaeter of éhitalr^i ' Ft was the 
source of this noblest actions, and gare inspiration to all the 
poetry of the age. If Achilles had been represented in the Iliad 
as enamoured, he could not have forgotteti his .power, and the 
woman whom he loved must have submitted to his authority. 
This prejudice of ancient Greece must have given to his passion 
a character of barbarism, which instead of exalting, abases, the 
Eero. But Tancred's flame is ennobled by the religioni which he 
professes, and he becomes more "amiable, without a«y sacrifice of 
Us valour. With the heroes of the classical epic, love ia a 
weakness; with the Christian knights, a devotion. The charac- 
ter of Tasso, who was himself possessed of an eBtbaafastic ima- 
gination, and of a heart open to all romantic impressions, led him- 
to the natural expression of a tender and delicate sentiment. 

The powers of darkness could not behold without grief, the- 
approaching triumph of t^e Christian arms* In the fourth canto 
of his poem, Tasso introduces a» to ibeir eonactla* Satan, wish- 
ing to resist the conquests of the Grus^em, aMemblés his sable 

'I' Th' infernal tmmp, that laad aad haarsely hraf *d, 
Convened the kuaates of th* etaraal shade : 
Hell's gloomy caverns shook «t every pore ; 
The murky eir return'd the sullen roar : 

. * This stanza has been universally admired, as much for the e^ct of i(« 
^tatire harmony, 9fi for the beauty of its imaf^s. 

29^ ON THfiiXIfBfiiArUtffi 

. ifot Jialf to load, fromiupiper le^wat âSrÎTeiiy .. l i 
. . Bunts oQtb'afTricbted ivorl^i^Bboltplf.HeftreA^ ;. 

Nor such the shocK, when from karth's w^mib profouad, ,, 
Exptodiog vapours rive the solid ground. 

The employment of infernal çpirîts in cembaCing^,lhç,fîlecrees ot 
Hearen, presenteit.iBiiay dtffitaiiiMtf. t^i.Taaflo.. : âupi^tition, by 
ivhose hand fbey vvef« drawft, ISad gWen to (betn' «'^emblaoce 
mean and ridiculoqa. Although Satan had resisTted^'a all-power- 
ful Being, we do not' find him' invested with grandeur or majesty. 
It is difficult to represent bim, without eiciting distaste or ridi- 
cdle ; and, in spite of the character which gnrtie Christian poets 
have drawn of him, Satan & seldom considered as a .dignified 
being. Tassb has combated this difficulty ; and h & portrait of The 
savage ruler of Hell, whom he calls Pluto, inspires termor' ratheif' 
than disgust. ' 

Oh U4 fi^rce^ brov migeatic tcrroriodev ■ 
That s weird wîtJi conscioui pride th^ infernal ^od ., . . 
His reddening eye, whence streaming poison ran, 
-Glared like acomtst, threatening wo to man. 
TfaÉok matted Mé» bit ample becnrd displfly'd, ' 
; gj. And veil'dbifibosiwiintU miÉt)tyi«h«4e. .-, . 

His mouth was like the whirlpool of the flood». 
Dark, yawning deep, and foul' with grûmious blood.^ 

Chiama gli aBitalor dell' om^e eteriie \ ' 
II nmco suon delta Tartarea tromba ; ' ' 
TMman to tpazitfse atre eav^nie, 
I^F^rcieçpaiiuelrpraornmbomba. . 
Ne 81 stridoado mai, dalle superoo ' * » 
Kegioni del cielo il folgor piomba, 
l^è SI scossa giamm'ai frema la terra, 
^aiido i vapori in sen «gfravlda «erra. 
• . •• ,d Cantâi/if',- St, 3i' 

^.Orrida maèskà nel fero aspetto 
Terrore accresce, e più superbo 11 rende, 
RossOggian gli oechi, edi veileno infetto 
Come iafausta cometa M gvardosplende ; 
Gi' involve il meoto, ^ «ù I' irsuto petto 
fifispida e fol ta la gran barba scende ; 
E in guisa di voragine profonda 
S'apre la bocca, d'atro sangue immonda. 

4uaK i Ibmi aolfbrei ed infiammati 
Ebcod di Mongibello, e il puzzo, e'l toono ; 
Tal delta fiera bocea i negri fiati. 
Tale il fetore e le favelle sono. 
Montre ei parlava, Cerbero i latrati 
Ripresse, e I' Idra si fô muta al suoao : 
Restô Cjcito, e ne tremar gli abissi, 
K in qoesti detti il gran rimbombo odissi. 

Çanio rv. st. 7, .«. 

> ( 
; ;« • 



But #e 800D perceive that this powerful picture is almost revolt* 
ing to us ; and still more so, when we find, i&the next stan2a, tbttt 
he appeals to another sense, that of th^ smell, an allusion to which 
is not permitted in poetry* The speech which Satan addresses 
to the infernal spirits, is the prototype of that sombre eloquence 
assigned to him by Milton. The hatred which fires him, and 
which permits him, in his fall, to consider only the means of re- 
renge, is sufficiently ezaked, to ennoble his character. The 
demons, obedient to his voice, immediately separate, and take 
their flight to different regions of the earth, air, and water, to 
unite against the Christian army all the power which they exer- 
cise oyer the elements, and all which they have acquired over, 
the men who devote themselves to their worship. The Saltan of 
Damascus, the most renowned among the magicians of the East, 
at the instigation of his evil genius, undertakes to seduce the 
Christian knights, by the charms of his niece, the sorceress Ar- 
mida. The East had conceded to her the palm of beauty. In 
artifice, address, and the most subtle intrigues of a woman or a 
sorceress,- she was equ»lly skilled. Armida, confident in her 
charms, repairs alone to the camp of the Christians. She hd^es 
to draw into the snares of love, the most valiant of the foes of her 
country ; and, perhaps, the illustrious Godfrey himself It is in 
this portrait of Armida, in the description of all that is lovely, 
tender, and voluptuous, that Tasso has surpassed himself and is 
inimitable. The poets of antiquity appear not to have felt so in- 
tensely the power of beauty ; nor, like Tasso, have they ever 
ex-pressed the intoxication of love.*^ Armida, amidst a- crowd of 
knights, desires to he conducted to the pious commander. She 
throws herself at his feet, and claims his protectioD ; she relates 
that her uncle had despoiled her of her inheritance f the feigns 
that he had attempted to poison her : she represent^ herself a%a 
fugitive and an outlaw ; and invests herself with imaginary daii« 
gers in order to excite the sympathy of Godfrey and of the knights 
who surround him. She concludes by imploring him to grant her 
a small band of Christian soldiers to reconduct her to Damascus^ 
of which plaee, her partisans had promised te open to her, one 
of the gates. Godfrey's constancy is at first shaken ; but, after 
hesitating, he courteously declines diverting the army from the 
service of God, for an .pbject of human interest. The knightsj 
•whoDi the tears of Armidir*bad softened, and who are smitten by 
her beauty, condemn the cold prudence of their chief. Eustace; 
the brother of Godfrey, and the most ardent admirer of Armida, 
speaks, in the name of all the others, with that courage and chi- 
valrous frankness, which render the period of the Crusades an 
epoch, more favourable than any other, for poetry. He reminds 

Vor.. I. 

* Cmto ÏW. H. 88 to 38. 



them of the obligation of all true knights to protect the feeble aadF 
the oppressed, and above all» the wealser sex. 

'* Heareni I be it ne'er In France's land ivrsiised, 
Nor anj land where cdiirtesv U prixedy 
That in so ÙStf a cause aloof we stood, ^ ^ 

Shrunk firom fatigue, or fear'd to risk our blood. 
For me, henceforth I east with shame aside 
My glitteriog corslet» and ni> helmet's pride^ 
For CTer I ungird mj trusty brand ; 
No more shall arms be wielded by this hand'; 
Farewell my st«ed, our proud career is o'er ; 
And thou, fair knighthood, be usurp'd no more."* 

Godfrey» moFed by the entreaties of his brother, and carried 
away by the wishes of the whole army, consents, at length, that 
ten knights shall accompany Armida, to restore her ta the throne 
of her ancestors. The sorceress, after having obtained her suit, 
attempts to increase the number of her devotees, by seducing, in 
her return, more than Godfrey had conceded to her ; and the in- 
trigues of her art are described with a delicacy and a grace which 
we should, perhaps, look for in ▼am in the erotic poets, and, at 
the same time, with a dignity which renders this picture worthy 
of the epic muse. 

We have now analyzed, the first four cantos of the Jtrtualem 
Delivered, «The a<ftion is already commenced ; the most important 
personages have been introduced ; the resources of the enemy 
are developed ; the designs of the infernal powers are announced ; 
and we perceive the obstacles to the progress of the Christians. 
Yet the poet has not paused in his flight, in order to acquaint us 
with preceding events. The action advances ; and the occur- 
rences, anterior io the opening of the poem, are recalled* inci* 
dentally, and^as occasion presents itself, without suspending for 
them the course of the narrative. A long recital sets forth ante* 
rior occurrences in the Odyssey, and in the £neid; but the IHad, 
which has evidently served for a model to I'asso, is marked by an 
uninterrupted progress, like the JerutaUm Delivered^ without re- 
ference, to past events. Almost all the other epic poets have imi- 
tated Virgil, either in order to render the developement more 
easy, or to give, by a long discourse, a more dramatic fbrm to the 
narrative. Vasco de Qama, Adam, TeleQMK^hus, and Henry IV.^, 

* Ah non sia rer per Dio, che si ridica 
In Franeia, à dove in pregio è cortesia, 
Che si fugga da noi rischio d fatica 
Per cagion soci giuata e cosi pia ; 
Io per me qui depongo elmo e lorica, 
Qui mi scingo la spada, e più non fia 
Gh' adopri indegnamente arme e destriero, 
p '1 nome usurpi mai di csTaliera. \ 

Cmto if. it, 81» 



liaTfi each sm important recital assigned to them» which occupies 
the second and third books of theLusiad, of Paradise Lost, of the * 
Telemachus, and the Henriade. Several of the Italian critics 
have made it a cause of serious reptoach to Tasso, that he has not 
conform sd to the model of the great masters ; but they ought 
rather to have felt the difference between mere imitation, and the 
observance of particular rules. These rules prescribe nothing. 
They interdict only what is contrary to the general effect, to emo- 
tion, and to the sentiment of^he beautiful. This feeling is 
checked, and the mind of the reader remains in doubt, if the per- 
ffons, for whom we wish to interest him, are unknown to hipi ; 
and if he be unacquainted with the time and the events, into the 
midst of wl^ich we wish to transport him. Bat, the manner of ac- 
complishing this is not governed by the laws of poetry. On the 
contrary, we ought to feel indebted to the poet, if he effects it in a 
novel mode, and if, disdaining the example of his predecessors, 
he does not model his poem, like a work of manufacture, by a 
common pattern. But, in Tasso, we find no difficulty in compre- 
hending this rule, or in following it. He does not require iroïjfk 
his readers an acquaintance with the events preceding those of 
his poem. He is complete and satisfactory, and supports himself 
unaided. - This merit be owes, in great part, to the extreme care 
which he took to instruct himself in the truth of the incidents, and 
to ascertain, in all their details, the true situation of the places 
where the scene of the poem is laid. When M. de Chateaubriand 
read this poem before the walls of Jerusalem, he was struck with 
the fidelity oftbe description, which seems reserved for ocular 
demonstration. The description of the city of Jerusalem is drawn, 
he assures us, with the most scrupulous accuracy.* The forest, 
situated six miles distant from the camp, on the side of Arabia, 
and in , which Ismeno prepares his dark enchantnients, still re- 
mains. It is the only one found in the neighbourhood of the city, 
and it was from thence that the Crusaders procured all the mate- 
rials for their engines of war.' We even remark the tower, where 
Âladin is represented as fitting with Erminia ; and we retrace the 
paths by which Armida arrived, Erminia fled, and Clorinda ad- 
vanced to the combat. This scrupulous accuracy gives a new 
value to the^poem ^f Tasso. it connects, more intimately, history 
and fiction ; and the first crusade is inseparably united with the 
oame of the poet who has celebrated it. ^ 

In his review of the army of the Crusatdérs, TaSso has fixed our 
attention^ on a band of adventurers, the flower of the Christian 
chivalry. The chief of this band, Dadone di Consa, had been 
slain by Argante, in the first action, under the walls of Jerusalem. 
It was, consequently, requisite to appoint a new leader to this 
bi^d of knights, the hope of the army. Eustace, who wished 

* Cmi^ iii. 91, 55. 57. 


to prevent Rinaldo from following Ârmida, points hîm out as thé 
most deserving of this distinction, and endeavours to rouse bis 
ambition. Gern^ndo, Son of the King of Norway, lays claim to it, 
and is enraged to find a competitor. He spreads injuHous reports 
against Rinaldo. Rinalrio bears and resents them. The two 
(cnights rush on each other, in spite of the crowd of warriors who 
ejodeayour to separate ihem, and Gernando is killed in the com- 
bat. ' The manners and the laws of knighthood required, that an 
impeachment of a soldier^s honour should be avenged by the 
sword, put, on the other band, all dissensions among the Cru: 
saders ought to have been suspended ; and he who bad dedicated 
his sword to God, ought no longer to have employed it in his own 
cause. Rinaldo, therefore, in order to avoid a military trial, was 
compelled to quit the Christian camp. During these ocourrences, 
Armida carries with her, not only the ten knights conceded to her 
by Godfrey, but many others besides, who, in thelBrst night after 
her departure, had deserted the can^p to follow her ; and whilst 
tbe armj is enfeebled by the absence of so many warriors, it is 
thrown into alarm by the loss of its convoys, and by the approach 
of the Egyptian fieet. 

The sixth canto opens with two extraordinary combats, to which 
the Circassian, Argante, challenges tbe Christians in presence of 
the whole army. The one is with Otho, who remains his pri- 
soner; the other with Tancred. Night alone interrupts the 
second combat. The two warriors are alike wounded ; and Er- 
minia, called on to give to Argante those attentions' which, in tbe 
chivalrous ages, the females bestowed on the wounded, whose 
only physicians they were, regrets not having sooner succoured 
the hero whom she loves, to whom she is bound in gratitude, and 
who stands in need of her healing band. She resolves, at length, 
to join him in the Christian camp. United in strict friendship 
with Clorinda, she avails herself of her intimacy to array herself 
in her armour, and passes through the city gates in her name. 
The whole passage, where her delicate form is represented as 
with difficulty sufSporting the weight of her armour, is writteii 
with an inexpressible charm. 

With the rude steeri angrateful load she prest 
Her golden hair, soft neck, and spelling breast ; 
Her arm, unequal to a task so great, 
Gives way beneath tbe buckler's massy weight ; 
Glittering in bumish'd steel the damsel stood, 
Her sex, her nature, and herself subdued. 
LoTe 9tood delighted bj ; the wanton child 
£yed the masked Beauty, and in mischief smiled : 
^Twas thufl bis smiled, when Hercules of jrore 
Resigned his manhood, and the distaff bore. 
\ Scaree can her limbs the unequal weight sustain ; 

Her feet move slowly, and she steps with pain ; 
She leans, confiding, on her faithful maid, - 
Who walks before, and lends her usefol aid : 
Bat from inspiring hope new spirits om. 
And lore fr^sh figour to het limbs supplies^ 


Slie wg|èf on ; the spot they reach with speed 
, Where waits the Squire ; they mount the ready steed.* 

As soon as she has escaped from the city, she despatches her 
knight to inform Tancred, and ask for her, a protection to the La« 
tin camp. Daring this interval, and to calm her impatience, she 
advances to a neighbouring height, whence she views the tents so 
'.endeared to her. 

•Still Night, in star-embroider'd Test array'd. 
Cast o'er the slombVing world her siient shade ; 
No fleeting cloud disturbM her tranquil reign ; • 
The moon, slow rising through the azure plain, 
O'er lawn and hill her sil? er lustre threw, 
And changed to living pearls the orbed dew. 
In passion's maxes lost, th' enamour'd Dame 
Gaye pensire utt'rance to her ilNstarr'd flame. 
Bade the mute plains ber secret sorrows know, 
And cali'd on silence to attest her wo. 
Then gazing on the distant Gamp, she cries : 

" Te Latin tents, fair are ye in my eyes ! 
The passing gales that from ye blow, impart 
A transient eonafort to my bleeding heart ! 
So may relenting Heaven reserre for me. 
Mild in its wrath, a kinder destiny. 
As tis in you alone my woes must cease ; 
As' in the midst of arms 1 look for peace* 
Reeeire me then ! and grant me there to prove 
The pity, promised by assuring Love ; 
That soothing pity which I found before, 
A captive, from the hero I adore. 
Nor one vain wish I cherish, to regain 
My kingly honours and my rich domain; ' 
All earthly glories freely I resign ; 
Far other wish, far other hopes are mine I 
Though stripp'd of these, abundant bliss 'twould give 
Within your loved abode, a slave to live I" 

Ah 1 little, while she spake, the fair divined 
Th' unkindly lot her frowning fates design'd ! 

* Col dnrissifflo acciar preme ed offende 
II delicato eoUo e I' aorea chioma : 
£ la tenera man lo scudo prende 
Pur troppo grave e insopportabil soma : 
Cos) tutta di ferro iotorno splende, 
£ in atto mil|tar se stessa doma ; 
Gode amor ch' è présente, e tra se ride 
Cerne all 'hor già che avvolse in gonna Alcide. 

O con quanta fatica ella sostiene 
L' inegual peso, e move lenti i passi, 
£d à la fide eorapagnia, a' attiene 
Che per appoggio aodar dinanzi (hssi; ' 
Maxinforzan gli spirti amore e spene, 
£ ministran vigore ai membri lassi : 
SI che giungono al loco ove la aspetta 
Lof^diero,2e in arcion sagliono in firetta. 

C«ii|0 vK 9(. 99, 93w 


Af on the height the itoedt with ({utv'riiig play, 
Deneed on her poHaVd artot the IvDer ray ; 
The steel, the anowy Test that deck'd her frame, 
Wide o'er the fields reflect the sUv'ry flane ; 
The bumish*d tiger, blazing on her crest, 
Clortnda's self, in pomp of war, confest.* 

Not far from thence is posted an advanced gnard of the Chria- 
tiaos, commanded by two brothers, Alcandro and Poljphemo. 
i'he last, imagining he sees Clorinda, rushes forward to attack 
her. The supposed warrior flies ; and Tancred, informed that 
Clorinda has been seen in the CRrop, flatters himself that the mes- 
sage he has received conges fi'om.'her, and, wounded as he is, fol- 
lows m the pursuit, to watch over hefr safety. 

Erminia, afler flying the whole dayv reaches a solitary valley, 
watered by the Jordan^ which the doise of arms 'bad never 
reached. She is there received by an aged shepherd, who, with 
his three sonr, tends his flock, in the bosom of peace and inno- 
cence. It is impossible to draw a more enchantfkig and toacbing 
picture of pastoral life, than this, in which Srminia r^blves to 
wait for happier days.t Tancred, on his part, misted by the pur- 
suit, arrives at the castle of Armida, where, by treachery, he is 
made prisoner. He does not appear, on the day appointed, to re- 
new with Argante the combat which night had interrupted ; and 
thç flower of the army have forsaken the camp, in the train of 
Armida. In the mean timef the venerable Raymond, Count of 
Toulouse, supplies the place of Tancred ; and Tasso gives inte- 
rest to this part of the poem, in confronting an aged soldier with 
the most renowned* and most ferocious of the Saracens, and in 
giving* him the advantage, by means of celestial aid. This single 
combat is terminated, as in the Iliad, by an arrow despatched from 
the Asiatic camp against the Christian warrior. In the engage- 
ment which follows, the Latins are defeated. The eighth canto 
represents them in still greater peril. The arms of Rinaldo, 
stained with blood, are brought to the Christian camp, and many 
circumstances lead to the belief that he has been assassinated by 
his comrades. Alecto directs tlie suspicions against Godfrey him- 
self. The Italians, long jealous of the French, seize their arms 
to avenge their hero. A dreadful sedition spread^ through the 
camp, and seems to threaten a civil comnK>tibn. This scene, as 
well as the digniâed calmness of Godfrey, who recalls the revolted 
troops to their duty, is painted with the hand of a master. 

The situation off the Christians now becomes every day more 
'Critical. Soliman, Sultan of Nicea, having been driven from his 
kingdom by the arms of the Cbrfstians, at the eomiBiicnicement of 
the war, had fled to the Sultan of Cairo, and had been commis- 
sioned by him to call to arms^lhe Arabs of the desert. He art 

* Cmiio vi. 9t, 104, etc. T Cant» vii. ee. 1 to 92. 



rives, ID the uinth canto, on tliç night after the tamoit. An inou- 
merMe bbost of Bedouins follows him. Under the coTer of night, 
they attack the camp of the Crusaders, and spread dismay and 
çonfiisioD ; whilst Argante and Cloriiida make a sortie, and attack 
the camp on the other side. The Saracens are led on hy all the 
rebellious spirits, of hell ; but God does not permit these malig- 
naot powers to bestow yictory «a his enemies. "He despatches 
the af-changel* Michael to discomfit them, and, after the sapema* 
tnral powers have retired from the field of battle, the Christians 
recover the day by their own valour. Soliman is compelled to 
fly. The sorcerer Ismeno stops him on his route. ^By means of 
bis magic art, he conducts him back to Jerusalem, concealed frcMn 
the eyes of his enemies ; and, at the same time, predicts to him 
the future conquests of the MaboitaedaDS, and the glory of SaladiSf 
whom he represents as descending from Soliman. He introduces 
bim to the councils of Aladin, at the moment when the chiefs are 
preparing to capitulate ; and Soliman, by his presence, restores the, 
couri^ of the dispirited warriors. On the other part, the knights 
whom Armida had seduced, return to the camp during the battle. 
They relate to Godfrey the manner in which they had been made 
prisoners by that sorceress ; how they had experienced the power 
of her enchantments ;«and how she had endeavoured to send theno 
prisoners to the King of Egypt, when Rinaldo, whom they met 
by the way, delivered them, and Tancred among them. Thus 
the alarm which had spread through the Christian camp, for the 
safety of Rinaldo, is dissipated, and Peter the holy hermit, reveals 
the high destinies wh^ch Heaven reserves for his descendants. 

The eleventh canto opens with the religious pomp and litanies, 
with which the Christians invoke the aid of Heaven, during their 
procession to the Mount of Olives. It is thus that they prepare 
themselves to assault the city on the following day. The opening 
of this great day is announced ""with air that military enthusiasm, 
which the Italian poets so well know how to represent. The 
assault and the manner of combat are here described with great 
truth of costume ; and, although Tasso, like all other poets, gives 
much more consequence to the personal valour of the chiefs, and 
less to the services of the soldiers than is really due, his descrip- 
tion is, yet, that of a real action, and not of a combat of knights-* 
errant. In the midst of the assault, Godfrey of Boulogne, Guelfo 
of Bavaria, and Raymond of Toulouse, are wounded ; and 
their retreat discourages their soldiers. Argante and Soliman 
make a furious sortie from the gates of Jerusalem, disperse the 
Christians, and attempt to fire the wooden tower; on which the 
warriors were placed for the assault. Tancred and Godfrey, 
whose wounds had been dressed, resist them, and^ night separates 
the combatants. 

Clorinda, meanwhile, who had not taken an active part in the 
battle, wishes to distinguish herself, in the night, by another ex- 
ploit. 9he meditates a sortie, in order to bum the wooden tower, 




which still remains at some distance from the /walls. Arganlè 
begs to accompany her. The heroine, to avoid being recognised^ 
clothes herself in black armour. The aged slave who accom- 
panies her, and who had known her from her infancy, rereals to 
her secrets, respecting her birth, before unknown ta her. Be 
informs her that she is the daughter of the Queen of Ethiopia ; 
that she is under the protection of Saint George, and- that this 
sainted warrior had often reproached him, in dreams, for not 
having baptized her. Clorinda, although troubled herself by 
similar dieams, still persists in her design. The two valiant 
champions penetrate the Christian lines, and fire the tower ; but, 
as they retire, overwhelmed by numbers, Argante enters Jerusa- 
lem by the golden gate, while Clorinda is led off in pursuit of an 
assailant, and finds on her return the barriers closed against her. 
She then seeks to escape from the field, in the obscurity of night. 
Tancred pursues her, and, when they have reached a solitary 
spot, he challenges the unknown warrior to single combat, deem- 
ing him not unworthy of his sword. Thi» combat betiveen two 
lovers, who do npt recognise each other under the shades of 
night, is the masterpiece of Tasso. The combat itself is painted 
with matchless force of colouring.* But, when Clorinda is 
mortally wounded by her lover, the pathetic attains its greatest 
height, and poetry has nothing to offer more afllecting. 

Bat lo ! the fated moment now was come, 
The moment, charterM with Clorinda*s doom : 
Great Tancred's sword her beauteous bosom tore : 
. Deep lodg'd the greedy biade, and drank her yirgin gore : 
Her robe, of golden tissue, that represt 
Th' ambitious heavings of her snowj breast, 
With the warm stream was fillM ; cold death assail'd 
Her bloodless frame ; her languid footsteps fail'd •' 
Tancred with threats the faUing fair pursues, 
His conquest ui^es, and his blow renews. 
She raises, as she falls, her yoice of wo, 
And from her lips life's latest accents flow,t 

* Canto zii. st, 53 to 63. 

t Ma ecco omai V ora fatale è giunta 
Che '1 river di Clorinda al suo fin deve ; 
Spinge egli il ferro nel bel sen di punta, 
Che vi s' immerge, e '1 sangue avido berç. 
£ la Testa che d' or vago trapanta 
Le mammelte stringea tenera e leve^ 
h* empie d' un caldo fiume ; ella già sente. 
Morirsi, e '1 pie le manca egro e languente. 

Quel segue la Wttoria, e la trafitta 
Vergine minacciando incalza e preme. 
Ella, mentre cadéa, la voce afflitta 
MoTcndo, disse le parole estremè. 


Th* infusion of the Spirit from on high, 

Spirit of FBiâi, of Hope, of Charity ! 

New ? irtiae, by th* Almighty Father given ; 

For, if in IKh she spum'd the laws of Heaven, 

He wtird at least, that in her dying hour. 

Her contrite seal should own her Savioui^M power. 

** Friend, I am conqoerM ; thou hast pardon free ; 
And pardon I demand in death from thee ; 
Not'On this fra&te, which no base fear can know, 
But on n^y parttnj^ spirit mercy show ' ^" 

'Tis for ray sinful soal I bid thee pray ; 
Let rites baptismal wash my gtiilt away.*^ 

From her pale Hps these languid words that fell, 
Such sweetness breathed,- ditine, ineffable^ 
As <to the' hero's heart resistless crept ; 
H is- enmity was hush'd, his anger slept. 
And straight, compell'd by some mysterious force, 
Vobidden tears gush*d copious from their source, 
emerging firomtbe hill, a scanty brook. 
Not faif remote, its murmuring progrès^ took : 
Thither the stfuVstruck warrior ran, .to fill 
Hi» hollow helmet at the limpid rill. 
Then. hasCen'd to perform the sad demand ; 
Some coriKioQs instinct shook his trembling hand. 
As from her face, till now unknown, he drew 
The helm that cover'd it ; he saw, he knew :— 
All power of speech, of motion, then was goq^ ; 
Ah ! cruel sight ! ah I knowledge best unknown 1 
Nor yet he died ; in that momentous hour. 
Collecting all the remnant of his power, 
D^ep in his soul his sorrows he supprest. 
And for the solemn office arm'd his breast. 
That she, whom late his murdVous steel had slain. 
By water^s saving power might live again. 

Parole ch' a lei ndto uo spirto ditta, 
Spirto di fè, di carità, di speme : 
Virtu, ch' or Dio le infonde, *e se rubella 
In Tita fù, la vuole in morte ancella. 

Amico, hai vinto, io ti perdon, perdona' 
Tu aneora, al çorpo n6, cbe nulla pave, 
A 1' alma si. Deb, per lei prega, e dona 
Battesmo a me, ch' ogni mia coipa lave. 
In queste voci languide, risuona 
Un non aô ebè di flebile e soave, 
Ch' al cor gli serpe, ed ogni sdegpno ammorza, 
E gli occhi a lagrimar gli invoglia e sforza. 

Foco quindi lontain, nel sen del monte 
Scaturia mormoranda on picciol rio ; 
Egli v' accorse, e 1' elmo empie nel fonte ' 
£ tornô mesto al grande uffizio e pio. 
Tremar senti la man, mentre la fVonte 
Non conosciuta ancor sciolse e scoprio. 
La TÎdde, e la conobbe, e resté senza 
£ Toce e moto. Abi vista t ahi conoscenza ! 
Voi. I. 38 

296 O» THE LITERATU&E, &c; 

As, from his tongue, Salfation's accents came,- 
New joy transformM the virgin's dying frame ; 
V A smile of gladness o'er her features {lasty 

And sweetly tranquil,^ as she breath'd her last. 
She seemM to say, " Earth's vain delusioas cease ; 
'* Hea?en opens on my eyes ; I part in peace.** 
O'er her fair face death's livid hue arose ; 
So, mix'd with violets, the lily showsi 
She fix'd her eyes on Heaven ; the sun, the sky, 
Seem'd to .look down in pity from on high : 
She waved her band, and sinee her lips denied 
• AH power of speech, the pledge of peace supplied. 
So pass'd frpm earthly scenes the maid forgiven ; 
So her pure spirit fled, redeem'd, to Heaven ; 
Not death's rude hand her features fair impress'(3« 
But the calm slumber of unclouded rest. 

The deipatr of Tancred ie such as must^ be excited bj sa^ 
dreadful an incident. But Tasso, true tio the , sensibility of hif 
nation, which never prolongs excessive grief, and faithful ^ per- 
haps, to the genuine rules of poetry, which ought never to con- 
vert into real suffering the pleasures of the imagination, does not 
allow the reader to dwell on this melancholy catastrophe ; and 
before quitting Tancred, administers to him consolation, by ^ 

Non morîgià, che sue virtuti accoke 
Tutte in quel punto, e in guardia al cor le mise-; 
£ premendo il suo aiSanoOy a darsi volse 
Vita, col 1' acqua, a chi col ferro uccise. 
Mentre egli il suon de sacri detti sciolse, 
Colei di gioia trasmutossi « rise, 
E in atto di morir lieto e vivace 
Dir parea : S' apre il cieio ; io vado in pac»^ 

D'un bel pallor hà il bianco volto asperso, 
Come a gigli sarian miste viole, 
£ gli occhi al cielo affisa, e in iei converso 
Sèmbra per la pietate il cielo e '1 sole. 
E la man fredda e nuda alzando verso 
II cavaliero, in vece di parole 
Gli dà peguo di pace. In questa forma 
Fassa la bella donna e par che dorma. 

Canto xii. si. 64 to 6è. 

I S99 3 


Remarkt on Tasso eoneludej. 

Sympatht ig,perhiip8, the origin of all the plea^ores of the 
tniad, anil if critics have presctibed other laws and rules of art 
^or appreciating and judging (be beautiful, (he rest of the world 
are, nerertheless, governed. by their own feelings. A passage 
which excites a deep interest or awakens our curiosity, which 
circulates our blood more rapidly, and checks our respiration, 
which takes possession of our whole heart, and whose fictions 
wear the semblance gf reality, has fully attained the object of its 
author, and has accomplished the highest elSbrt of art. If» too, 
the writer of such a fiction has succeeded in exciting so lively an 
«motion, without gtving pain to the reader, without having re- 
coarse to pictures of suffering, rather than to morsel sentiments, 
the recollection of such a work is as delightful and as pure as the 
first impression is powerful. The poetic invention is a subject of 
admiration to us, afler the emotion is calmed ; and we return, 
with pleasure, to indulge a second and a third time, a feeling of 
the mind which is vehement without being painful. This merit, 
which gives a charm to romance, and constitutei the excellence 
of tragedy, is frequently wanting in the epic. We admire (he 
most celebrated poems ; but our admiration is not accompanied 
by any powerful emotion, by an ardent curiosKy to pursue the 
course of events, or by a very lively intereât for the actors. The 
epic iS| therefore, among the noble fictions of poetry, that which 
draws the fewest tears. Tasso, in this respect, has shown himself 
superior to all his rivals. The romantic interest of Tancred and 
Clorinda is carried quite as far as in the love romances, whose 
ooly object was to awaken the soflter feelings of (he heart, in 
the character of Tancred, (he brave?^, the most generous, and 
the most loyal of knights, we trace a vein of modesty and melan- 
choly which wins all hearts. Ciorin^a, in spite of the contrast 
between her invincible and savage valour, and the mild virtues of 
the female character, attracts us by her generosity. The catas- 
trophe is the most affecting <bat my writer of romance has ever 
invented, or any tragic author ha9 brought on the stage. Although 
Tasso deprives the generous T^ancred, almost in the middle of 
the poem, of all hope and all object in life^ he does not yet de- 
«troy the interest of what ensues. The shade of Clorinda seems, 
to attach itself henceforth to this unhappy hero, who never again 
«appears on the scene, without exciting the deepest sympathy ia 
<he reader. 


The moTbg lower, with which the Christians had attacked the 
walls, had been burnt by the united efforts of Clorinda and Ar- 
gante. Ismeno, to prevent the Christians constructing a new ope, 
by means of his horrid enchaptments, places under the guard of 
demons, the only forest where they could find wood proper for 
machines of war. The terrors which these dreaded places inr 
spire ar^ thus communicated to the reader ; 

Then burst upon their ears a sudden sound ; 

As when an earthquake rocks the groaning ground ; 

Al when the South-winds murmur, loud andMeep ; 

As when amid the rocks the billows weep; 

The serpent's his» was there, the wolfs dread howl, 

The lion's roar, the bear's terrific growl. 

The trumpet's blait, with crashing thunder join'd ; 

Such mingled sounds in one the hideous din combined.^ 

The most valiant warriors, in fain, successively eodeavovr to 
penetrate into this forest, which is surrounded by walls of fire. 
Tancred alone succeeds ; but this hero, a stranger to fear, is over- 
come by compassion. The tree which he attempts to hew down 
with his sword, poars forth blood from the wounds which he has 
inflicted. The voice of Clorinda is heard, and reproaches him 
with violating the last repose of the dead. She infi^rma htm, that 
the souk of the warriors, who have fallen before Jerusalem, are 
attached to tVe trees of this forest, as to a new body, for a certain 
number of years. Tancred, scarcely trusting his senses, sus- 
pects that what be hears is the voice of a sorcerer, and not that of 
Clorinda* But tS^e uncertainty alone disarms him, and he relents 
and departs. 

The burning dayi of the dog-star now appear ; the sun pours 
hb scorching rs^s on the sands of the desert ; and the army, de- 
prived of water, and clioaked with the heat and the dust» faint 
under the drought. The picture of this dreadful scourge is drawn 
with a fidelity which no other poet has equalled. 

t Whene'er the Su« begins his matin race, 
Vapours of bloody hue distain his face 
And his bright orb surround, a sure presage 
Of coming day's into^rable rage. 

* Esce allor deUa leWa «n suon repente, 
Che par rimbombo di t^rren t;he treme 
£ '1 mormorar degfi Austri in hi si sente, 
S 1 pianto d' onda che fr% scoglk geme. 
Come nigge il leon, fischia il serpente, 
Come um U lupo, e come 1' qibo fireme 
y odi, e ▼' odi le trombe, e V odi il tupno ; 
Tant! e si fatti suoni esprime us suono. 

Cenlo ziii.Jt. 31. 

t Non esce il sol giamai ch' «sperso e einto 
Bi sangnigni vapori entro ed intomo. 
Non mottri ne la fronte assai distinto 
Mesto presagio d' infelice giorno ; 


6^ted with red, his parting disk he ihows, 
Unerriflg token of to-morrow's woes. 
And with the future mischief he portends, 
To piMt distress a sting more poignant lends. 
While thus he reigns, &e despot of the skies, 
V Where'er unhappy man directs his eyes, 
He sees the flowers all droop, the leaves grow pale, 
The verdure wither, and the herbage fail 
Cleft is the ground ; the streams, abserh'd, are dry ; 
AU Nature's works confess th' inclement slcy. 
' The barren clouiis, through air's wide regions spiead, 
Part into flaky streaks, and flare with red. 
^ The Heavens above like one vast furnace glow, 

Nor aught relieves the eye of man below. 
^ Within their caves the silent Zephjrs slept; 

The stagnant air unbroken stillnes8 kept ; 
No wind was there, or 'twas the burning blast 
That o*er parch'd Afric's glowing sands had past, 
And- with a dull and heavy heat oppress'd 
The fever'd cheek, dry throat, and lab'ring breast. 

The entire passage is too long for translation, but there is not a 
single ?er8e in these eleven stanza», which is not admirable, which 
does not contribate to the heightening of the picture, and afford a 
proof oSf that profound knowledge of nature, without which a great 
poet cannot be formed ; for, without it, the enchantments of ima- 
gination lose their probability. The prayers of Godfrey obtain 
at length, from heaven, the rain so ardently desired by the army, 
which restores health and life to man and to the animal and vege* 
table creations. But the enchantments of the forest can be de-* 
stroyed only by Rinaldo. It is he whom God has chosen as the 
champion destined to conquer Jerusalem ; and heaven inclines the 

Non parte mai, che 'n rosse macchie tioto, 
Non mioacci egual noia al suo ritorno ; 
£ non inaspri i già sofferti danni 
Con certa tema di futuri afianni. 

Mentre gli raggi poi d' alto diffonde, 
Qaanto d' intorno occhiu mortal si.gira, 
Seccarsi i fieri, impallidir le fronde, 
Assetate languir 1* erbe rlmira, 
£ fendersi la terra, e scemar 1' onde, 
Ogni cosa del ciel soggetta a I' im ; 
£ le sterili nubi in aria sparse, 
In sembianza di fiamme altrui mostrarse. 

Sembra il ciel ne I'aspetto atra fornace. 
Ne cosa appar che gli occhi almen ristaure i 
Ne le spelonche sue zefiro tace, 
£ 'n tatto è ferrao il vaneggiar de 1' aure ; 
Solo vi soffia (e par vampa di face) 
Vente, che move da I' arene maure, 
phe gravoso e spiaceate, e seno e gote 
Co' densi fiati ad or ad or percote. 

Canto tiii. it 54: 

382 OJSr Tfifi LIVBftATUSJC 

•heart of Godfrey to pardon him, and that of Guelfo to dMumd his 

The importance giyen by Tasso to the enchantmenta of the 
forest, to the power of Ismeno, to that'of the Christian magician, 
and, in general, to all the marrelious and sifpematural part of the 
.Jeruscdem Delivered^ are treated hy Voltaire, in his Essay on Epic 
Poetry, with a mixture of bitter irony and contempt. But Vol- 
taire, who, in this essay, has proved that genius is independent of 
the idle rules of the critics, and that the varying taste of nations 
gives birth to original beauties, to be rightly appreciated only by 
themselves, ceases to be just and impartial, as soon as superstition 
is mentioned. He is then no longer a poet or a critic, but the 
champion only of the philosophy of his age. He drags to the tri- 
bunal of reason, or tries by his skeptic prejudices, every belief 
which he has not himself adopted ; as if it were a question of ab- 
stract truth of poetry, and not of its truth in relation to the hero, 
the poet, and his readers. Enchantments and incantations are true, 
with respect to the period of the crusades, when they formed the 
universal belief. Indeed, the miracles of the monks, and the illu- 
sions of demons, are presented to us as historic facts. Although 
a philosopher might smile at a knight of the twelfth century yield» 
ing belief to spirits and magicians, yet an historian would with 
more reason be ridiculed, who should desCrit>e the same knight 
as professing the opinions of a modern skeptic. We cannot, with- 
out depriving history of all interest, disjoin these facts from the 
belief of the age. Much hsss in poetry, can we revive past times, 
and give them the sentiments oi our own da^s ; and, if the opi- 
nions which were peculiar to them, are so repugnant to our own, 
that even our imagination cannot lend itself to the contemplation 
of them, the times when such opinions were prevalent, are out of 
the bounds of poetry, and cannot be represented to us in an altrac* 
tive manner. Thus, it may be doubted whether an European 
poem could please us, founded on the mythologies of the Hindpos, 
the Chinese, or the Peruvians. But, at the same time, the origi- 
tial poetry of these nations might highly interest us. In fact, in 
>order to render a fiction poetically true, it is, above all things, 
requisite, that he who relates it should appear persuaded of its 
^nith, and that they who listen to him shouki possess the grounds 
of a similar belief, although their reason may reject it. Thus, a 
Christian poet, who should sing the divinities of India, could ne- 
ver excite our sympathy, since he would not appear to believe 
what he sang. Thus the allegory which Voltaire himself substi- 
tutes for the marvellous, freezes, instead of warming the imagina- 
tion ; since it is neither the belief of the poet, nor of the actors, 
nor of the readers. But, if the marvellous is so closely allied to 
our prejudices ; if it holds a place in our general opinions ; if we 
have even felt it at some period of our lives, and knowti it felt by 
others, our imagination, eager for enjoyment, lends itSelf to the 
deception, as long as the poet requires. The classical mytholo^ 


k 90 familiar ta us from our éducation, that, eveo at this day, a 
poet vrho adopts it without intennixturei may hope to awaken 
feelings correspondent to the times of antiquity. But the super- 
stition of the middle ages is familiar to us in another manner. It 
is the paalady of our time» ; it is hy an effort that we are freed 
from it ; and we naturally fall into it again, as soon as we allow 
our reason to slumber. 

Voltaire, in wishing to banish the supernatural from poetry, 
has forgotten that belief is a great enjoyment. It is a want and a 
desire; dangerous, without doubt; and the theologian, the phi- 
losopher, the historian, and the statesman, ought to be on their 
guard against that avidity, with which, without examination, we 
sei^e and adopt the marvellous. But poetry is not required to 
be jealous of our enjoyments. That is not her province. She 
does not pretend to instruct. Her only aim is to flatter the ima- 
gination ; and so far from resisting this soil illusion, her great art 
is exercised in inducing it. It is an easy thing for Voltaire, or 
for any man who reasons, to show that these tales of enchant- • 
ments, of sorcerers, and of demons, are idle popular stories ; but 
no other supernatural belief would have taken such strong hold of 
our imagination, since no other would have been so familiar to us. 
"No other mythology or allegory could excite in us such lively 
emotions for Tancred, for Rinaldo, and fbr the heroes who cou- 
rageously defy these superhuman powers, since no other could 
find in us so ready a motive for their adoption. 

Two knights are despatched lo rescue Rinaldo from the enchant- 
anents ofArmida. Near Ascalon, they meet a Christian magician, 
who informa them of the snares which Armida had laid for Ri- 
naldo, and that she had led him to an enchanted island, in the river 
Orontes, where the sirens sought to seduce him by their songs, 
and to awaken the love of pleasure in his heart. He had already 
abandoned himself to fatal repose. Ârmida approaches to re- 
TBQge her wrongs, but is herself made captive by the charms of 
his person; and she who had abused the power of lore, in ren- 
dering him the slave of her artifice, now becomes captive in her 
torn. Ârmida had then placed Rinaldo on her enchanted car, and 
had transported him to one of the Fortunate Islands, assured that 
she should there find neither rivals nor witnesses of her passion. 
But the power of the Christian magician is superior to that of the 
enchantress, and the two knights embark in a magic boat, which 
is swiftly wafted across the Mediterranean. The maritime cities^ 
of Syria, Egypt, and Lybia, pass in swift succession before their 
eyes, and the poet characterizes each in a few words: It is bere- 
ft we find the celebrated stanza on Carthage : 

Great Carthage prostrate lies ; and scarce a trace 
Of aU her mighty ruins, marks the place 
Where once she stood : thus Desolation, waits 
Oh loftiest cities, and on proadest states ; 

Mé ON rflft LITBftiT0RÊ 

H«g» Im|i* oT «aa4, «nd wviiig h rt t ^gt Inde 
Th« pomp «f .power, the nepianeaU ef pride ; 
Atià yet doet man, poor child of eerth, presome 
fo moaro, Ttin arrofance! his mortal doom !* 

lo some of the succeeding stanzas are faretold the discoveries 
of Columbas, and those adventarouit voyages which have attached 
the name of an ItaJian to one of the' qaarters of the globe. I The 
two koights^ at length, arrive at the enchanted gardens of Annida, 
tvhich the poet has placed on a moantain in the Islands of the 
Blest. The description of these beanlifnl grounds inspires volop- 
tooQsness and delight, and the verses themselves have that soft- 
aess and harmooj which dispose to the jovs of love which breathe 
around Armida. In the midst of the feathered choir, the Phœoiz 
sings with homao voice.;^ The warriors discover the two lovers 
together. They wait, unMl Armida has wandered from Rioaldo, 
to show him, in an enchanted mirror, his effeminate dress, and the 
image of his soul. But the sight, alone, of their armour is suffi- 
cient to excite in the breast of Rinaldo, hb farmer ardour for the 
field. The exhortations of UbaUlo awaken the blushes of shame ; 
and he depails with the two warriors in 9pite of the supplications 
of Armida, who endeavours to detain. him by the most tender and 
persaaaive entreaties, or at lea^t to obtain permission to accom- 
pany him. He replies as one whose passion is subservient to his 
doty, and who awakes from the illusions of love, without renounc- 
ing its tenderness He depart!>>.and leaves her on the shpre, 
where she faints through grief, when she finds that she has not 
the power to retain him. At length, recovering trom her swoon^ 
she destroys the gardens and the enchanted palace, and retorns 
to Gaza, to join the army of the Sultan of Egypt. 

The Sultan reviews his army, and T:ts9o dette ribes the soldiers, 
and the various countries from whence they come, with that ful> 
ness of information which can alone give life and truth to tl^e pic- 
tore.^ Armida, in the midst of these warriors, offers herself and 
her kmgdom as a reward to him who shall avenge her onRinaldo ; 
whilst Rinaldo himself, on his return from the coHst of Syria, re- 
ceives from the hands of the Christian enchanter a present of 
arms, on which are engraved the glorious deedis of the supposed 
ancestors of the house of Este, from the fall of the Roman empire 

* Giftce 1 alta Cartago, app«na i segni 
De I' alta tae mine il lido serba ; 
Mooiono le città, muoiono i regni, 
Oopre i fasti e le pompe arena ed erba ; 
£ V uom d' ester mortal par che si sdegni ? 
O nostra meate cupida e superba i 

Cmto xr. st. 20. 

t Canfe tr. 9t. 30 to 32. * î Canto xtL st, 14 and 15. 

§ Cmtotvii. st, 4 to 32. 



to the time of the Ctmmdés. The enchitnter then speaks of Ri- 
oaldo's desceodaDts, and, among others^ announces a hero, whom 
he extravagantly eulogizes. This is Alfonso II., the last Duke of 
Ferrara, whom postent j is far from regarding with such favoura- 
ble eyes, and whose pride «id rigour Tasso himself lived to ex- 

Rinaldo, arHving at the camp» and repenting of his errors, 
which he confesses to Peter tiie Hermit, is despatched to the en- 
chaoted forest. It does not present to him, as to the other war- 
riors, monsters arid objects of terror^ but all the charms of an 
earthly paradise, and all the aflurements of love.f It is by the 
image of Armida, that the demons» defenders of thia forest, hope* 
to seduce him. She suddenly appears out of one of the trees, and 
supplicating him to spate her favourite myrtle, throws herself be- 
tween it and the sword of Rinaldo. But thé warrior, conTlnced 
that the* image before him is nothing more than an empty phan- 
toDl, redoubles his attack ; nor does he cease, though the fright- 
ful demons surround and menace him, until the tree falls beneath 
his sv^ord. The enchantment is thus destroyed, and the forest 
returns to its natural state. With the trees vtrhich are here found^ 
the Christians prepafe new machines of war, more ingenious thanf 
those which were employed in the fitst assault, but such as were 
dften constructed in the middle ages. Godfrey disposes every 
thing fctt an attack. During the combat, Heaven manifests its ad- 
aiStance in many miraculous ways. The fires of the Saracens are 
driven back upon themselves ; and a rock falls on Ismeno, and 
ômshés him at the moment he iii^ preparing new enchantments. 
All the host of Heaven, and the souls of all the warriors who had 
&IIen unde^ the walls of Jerusalem, assemble in the air, to share 
the honour of this last victory. Of theonortal combatants, it is to 
Ikinaldo that Tasso* aésigns the ^ory of success, At length, the 
ChriiMian banner is planted on the rampart.} Tancréd, in this last 
battle, encounters Argante, who, in disputing the ground with him, 
reproaches him with having failed to meet him as he had pro- 
mised. They both then retire from the fight, and leave the city, 
to assuage their ancient hatred by sin^e combat. But the fierce 
Argante, turning his eyes on the aincient capital of Jodea, about to 
fall beneath the hands of her eaemieSi feels his soul subdued at the 

Aigantes tur Aiag, as their stepi tbey stay'd, 

With thoocbtful eye the eonquer'd t«#n sttrveyM. 

Then, mandng that the PaganV «hîéld wag gone, 

The gen*rou8 Tancred cast away his own, 
^ And cried: " WhAt sudden thoughts across thee come ? 

Shrinks then thy heart, presentient of its doom ? 

If now prophetic fears thy soul o^eipower, 

Thy weakness risits thee in eril hour.", 

'*' CmUo ZTu. si. 90 to 94. t CénO^ xviir. ^ 

X Canto zriii. st, lOO. 

Vol. t. 39 


<' On Ton fair town,'* the Infidel replied, 
'^' Jadsas sceptred Queen, and Asia's pride, 
That bows her vanquishM head, I think with pain, 
While I, to stay her downfall, strive in vain ; 
And insufficient shall th' atonement be. 
Though Heaven adjudge thy forfeit head to me.*'* 

Whilst the two chiefs are thus engaged in deadly comhat» Tan* 
cred, having obtained the advantage, twice olSers to the savage Cir« 
cassiao his life and his liberty. Twice, Argante rejects his mercy 
and renews the contest.' He then falls, and dies, as he had lived, 
a stranger to fear. But Tancred» exhausted by the blood he had 
lost in the combat, has not strength left to join his comrades, and 
•woons at a little distance from his adversary. 

The Christians, on entering Jerusalem, make a dreadful massa- 
cre of all they meet. Aladin alone, with some warriors, and un- 
der the protection, of Soliman, retires into the Tower of David, 
the last hope of the Saracens. They flatter themselves that the 
army from Egypt may arrive in time for their deliverance. In fact, 
this army was on its march ; and Godfrey had despatched an 
esquire of Tancred, named Vafrino, who understood all the lan- 
guages of the East, to watch its movements. Vafrino is recog- 
nised in the Saracen camp by Erminia, and the princess, in .love 
with Tancred, resolves to accompany his esquire back to the Latin 
camp. As they return together, and approach 'Jerusalem, they 
traverse the field of battle, where Argante and Tancred were ly- 
ing motionless. Erminia, at first sight, believes that Tancred is 
dead; but, whilst she presses him in her arms, he betrays signs 
•f life. She closes his wounds and dries them with her tresses; 
and meeting some Christian warriors, they, at her request» instead 
of bearing him to his tent, convey him to Jerusalem. This was 
the ardent wish of the chief, who, if he were destined to die of 
his wounds, was desirous, of accomplishing his vow» and expiring 
at the sepulchre of his Redeemer. 

* Qui si fermano entrambi, e pur sospeso 
Volgeasi Argante à la cittade afflitta. 
Yede Tancredi che '1 pagan difeso 
Non è di scudo, e 1 suo lontano ei gitta. 
Poseia lui dice ; Or qual pensier t' a preso ? 
Pensi ch' è giunta 1* ora a te prescritta ? 
S' antivedendo ciô timido stai, 
B '1 tuo timoré intempestive omai. 

Penso (risponde) à la città del regno 
Di Giudea antichissima regina, 
Che vinta or cade, e in vano esser sostegno 

10 procurai de la fatal ruina. 

£ ch' è poca vendetta al mio disdegoo 

11 capo tuo che 1 cielo or mi destina. 
Tacque, e incoutra si van con gran risguardo, 
Che ben conosce I' un P altro gagliardo. 

Comdo xiz. «I. 9 and 10. 


The Egyptian army at length arrives in sight of Jerusalem , 
and, at sunrise on the ensuing morning, the Christians leave the 
city to meet it, and offer hattle.* All epic poets have painted 
battles ; all have exhausted on this favourite subject their most 
brilliant poetry; and none, perhaps, have succeeded in giving real 
pleasure to their readers. In the midst of his combats and his 
victories, Rm^ildo meets the car of Armida ; but, after having 
dispersed the band of her lovers» who bad conspired against him, 
he avoids meeting her. In the mean time, Soliman and Aladiti 
view the contest from the tower of David, and descend, with the 
remainder of the troops, to join in the battle. Aladin encounters 
Raymond of Toulouse, and the king falls beneath the sword of 
the aged warrior. Soliman, on the other side, meets Odoardo, a 
Doble chief, and GiMippe, his valiant spouse, whom no danger had 
ever separated. Both perish by the arm of the Sultan of Nicea.f 
But this is the last of his victories. Rinaldo rushes to revenge 
their deaths, and attacks Soliman, who is slain by the Christian 
chief. Ainaldo then engages Tisaphernes, the last defender of 
Armida. This princess, surviving all the warriors who had 
sworn to avenge her, and overpowered by shame and love, at- 
tempts to put an end to her life ; but Rinaldo arrests her hand, 
reminds her of his former love, and declares himself her knight. 
H« supplicates her pardon, and succeeds in assuaging her grief. 
Godfrey now gathers the last laurels of the day. Rimedon and 
Emireno die by his hand, and . Altamoro surrenders himself a 


ThuA Godfrey conquer'd ; nor tbe sinking Sun 
As yet his full diurnal race had run ; 
But, ere bis beams retired, the victor-train 
The rescued Town, the sacred temple gain : 
And thither too, ere yet his blood-stained vest 
He laid aside, th' impatient chieftain prest, 
There bung bis arms, there pourM bis votive prayer, 
Kiss'd his loved Saviour's tomb, and bow'd adoring there.} . 

Of all descriptions of poetry, of all productions of the human 
mind, the epic poem justly claims tbe first rank. It is the noblest 
of all harmonious creations. It is tbe greatest possible extension 
given to those laws of symmetry, which, directing all. parts to one 
object» produce, in ' each, the pleasure and perfection of the 
whole ; which combine unity with variety, and in some sort 
initiate us into the secrets of creation, by discovering to us the 
single idea which rules the most dissimilar actions and the most 
opposite interests., The ode derives its charm from the regular 
expression of the varied sympathies of the soul. It is the 
essence of tragedy to combine in one action all subordinate events. 

^ Ccmio XX. t Cmto xx. sU d4. to ISO. I Cttnf xx. at* 144^ 


and thafl to excite oor adininitioo for tbe anity of the design» in «^ 
sabject which commences in variety. Bot in the epic» the his* 
tory of the universe, and that of the terrestrial and celestial 
powers» is submitted to the same principle of symmetry» and the 
pleasure which the poet gives is so much the greater as it pro- 
ceeds from more extensive combiDations. Thus the Cathedral of 
St. Peter's, and the Coliseum, become sublime from their immen- 
sity. We seem to behold mountains, which, yielding to a supe- 
rior power, display the perfection of art in their whole, and in 
their parts. This unity in combination is the essence of epic 
poetry. It alone excites our admiration ; and without it, we have 
only a romance in verse, which a trut^ of detail, a fertility of 
imagination, and a vivacity of colouring, may invest with charms, 
but which does not convey a sublime idea of ik» creative power 
which gives it birth. 

The rivalsbip which it has been attempted to institute betweef 
Ariosto and Tasso, and which has for a long time divided Italy on 
the merits of these two great men, will afford us an opportunity 
of comparing the romantic with the classical style; not' with a 
view of assigning its poet to each class, but to show how far Tasso 
is indebted to each. These two kinds of poetry, so opposite ii 
their nature, have received their names from the critics of Crer- 
many, who haye declared themselves strongly in fovour of the 
romantic, and have considered as the result of system, what was 
formerly regarded as an excursion of the imagination, and as th^ 
violation of acknowledged rules. We must, however, adopt their 
classification ; since, the poetry of almost all the modem nations 
being of the romantic class, it would be unjust and absurd to judge 
of it, by other rules than those by which the writers were them- 
selves governed. 

The appellation of the Romantic was taken from the Romance 
language, which owed its birth to thé mixture of Latin with the 
ancient German. In a similar way the manners of Romance were 
formed from the habits of the people of tbe North, and the rem- 
nants of Roman customs. The civilization of the ancients (lad 
not, like purs, a double origin. All was there single and simple* 
The Germans explain the difference between the ancients pr 
classics, and the moderns or romantic authors, by the difference 
of religion. They assert that the first, with a material religion, 
addressed all their poetry to the senses ; while the second, whose 
religion is wholly spiritual, place all their poetry in the emotions 
of the soul. We may, however, raise many objections to. this 
origin of the two classes of poetry. We may, above all, remark, 
that, at tbe epoch which gave birth to the Romantic poetry, in 
the ages of ignorance and sup^tition, Catholicism was so nearly 
allied to' paganism, that it couIdTnot have a directly contrary influ- 
ence on the poetry which it produced. Whatever we may think 
of their origin, we must, notwithstanding, acknowledge that tbe 
poets of the two epochs had different objects in view. Those of 



aptiqqity, aioied at exçitioi^ admiratioo by beauty and by iymme- 
try. Those of rpodera times, wish to produce emotion by the 
feelings of the heart, or by the unexpected issue of e?ents. The 
first placed a high value on a combined whole ; the latter, on the 
effect of particular details. But Tasso has shown hew a man of 
powerful genius, uniting the two kinds, might be, at once, classi- 
cal in the plan, and romantic in the painting of manners and 
situation. His poeq^was conceived m the spirit of antiquity» and 
executed in the spirit of the middle ages^. Our customs, our edu- 
cation, the most touching passages in our histories, and, perhaps» 
even the tales of our nursery, always carry us back to the times 
and manners of chivalry. Every thing connected with that age 
^wakens our sensibility. Every thing, on the contrary, that is 
flerived from the mythological times of antiquity acU only on our 
memory. The two epochs of civilization were each preceded 
by their heroic ages. The Greeks ascended to the companions of 
Hercules» and we look back to the Paladins of Charlemagne. 
These two races of heroes are,, perhaps, alike the creation of the 
imagination in a later age ; but it is exactly this which renders 
their relation the more true to the age that has created them. The 
heroic ages form the ideal of succeeding times. We seek in them 
the model of perfection which is most in unison with our opi<> 
oions, our prejudices, our domestic sentiments, politics, and reli- 
gion. It is, jconsequently, by a reference to this heroism, that 
poetry is enabled to exercise her power more strongly over the 
mind or the heart. Poetry, at least that of the first class, has the 
same object as every other branch of ar^ It transports us from 
the real into sxk ideal world. All the fine arts seek to retrace 
those primitive foWs of beauty which are not found in the visible 
world, but the impression of which is fixed in otir minds, as the 
model by which to regulate our judgment. It is not a correct 
opinion, that the Venus of Apelles was only a combination of M 
that t;he painter found most perfect in the most beautiful women. 
Her image existed jin the mind of the artist before this combina- 
tion. It was after this image tbat he selected subjects for the 
Tarious parts. This original image could alone harmonize the 
yarious models which he consulted ; and this assistance, purely 
V&echanical, tç retrace the most beautiful forms» served only to 
deyelope his own conception, the idea of beauty, «s it is con- 
ceived by the mind, and as it can never be identified in any indivi- 
dud form. 

la the same manner, we find an ideal image of the beauty of 
character, of conduct, of passion, and, I had almost said, of crime, 
which has not been combined from different individuals ;^ which ia 
i^ot Ibe fruit of observation or of comparison ; but which previous- 
ly subsists in our own min,d, and m^y be considered as Ibe base 
of our poetic principles. Observation shows us that this idea is 
not the same in all nations* It is modified by general, and often 
by u^x^ow9 causecf, whlcb seem to arise almost -as much from 



diversity of origin as from education. The French knight pos- 
sesses, in our imagination, a different character from that of the 
knight of Italy, Spain, England, or Germany ; and all these cham- 
pions of modern times differ ^till more from the heroes of 
antiquity, and bear the marks of the Romantic race, formed from 
the mixture of Germans anci Latins. We easily portray, to our own 
minds, the modern hero, v^hose characteristics are universally re- 
cognised by all European nations ; but we cannot form a just 
conception of the hero of antiquity, and are obliged to delineate 
ills character from memory and classical recollections, and not 
from our individual feelings. It is this circumstance, which gives 
so cold an air to the claiasical poems of modern times. In the 
romantic species, the appeal is made directly to our own hearts ; 
in the classical, it seems requisite to consult our books, and to 
have every feeling and idea justified by a quotation from an ancient 

We have admired, in Tasso, the antique cast of his poem, and 
that beauty which results from the unity and regularity of design, 
and from the harmony of all its parts. But this merit, the princi' 
pal one, perhaps, in our eyes, is not that which has rendered bis 
work so popular. It is its romantic form, which harmonizes with ^ 
the sentiments, the passions, and the recollections of Europeans. > 
It is because he celebrates heroes whose type exists in their 
hearts, that he is celebrated in his turn by the gondoliers of 
Venice ; that a whole people cherish his memory ; and that, in 
the nights of summer, the mariners interchange the sorrows of 
Erminia and the death of Clorinda. 

The genius who gave to Italy the rare honour of possessing an 
epic poem, and who had rendered illustrious his country and the 
prince under whom he lived, might justly have looked for that 
regard and kindness which are not refused to even the most 
slender talents. No poet, however, seems to have been more 
severely disappointed, or exposed to more lasting misfortunes. 
We have already observed that he was bom at Sorrento, near 
Naples, on the eleventh of March, 1544, and was the son of Ber- 
nardo Tasso, a gentleman of Bergamo, who had himself enjoyed 
à poetical reputation. This was eleven years after the death of 
Ariosto. Tasso received the rudiments of his education in the 
college of Jesuits at Naples, and, from the age of eight years, 
bad been remarkable for his talent for poetry. The misfortunes 
of the Prince of San Severino, in which his father was involved, 
drove him, soon afterwards, from the kingdom of Naples* After 
some stay at Rome, he was sent to Bergamo, where he perfected 
himself in the ancient languages. During the year 1561, he stu- 
died the law at Padua. His father was desirous that he should 
follow that profession rather than the study of poetry, which had 
not assured to himself either independence or happiness. But 
the genius of Tasso was invincible. His reputation, as a poet, 
was already spread abroad, and was the early cause of one of bis 


first rezaftions» During a visit which he made to Bologna, heing 
accused of having written some satirical sonnets which had giyen 
offence to the government, its officers visited his chamber, and 
seized his papers. Tasso, who«(e temper was always irascible, 
regarded it as a stain upon his honour. He retired to Paiiaa, and 
it was there that he finished, at the age of nineteen, his Rinaldo^ 
a poem in twelve cantos. This poc^ celebrates the loves of Ri- 
naldoof Montalbando, and the fair Clarice, during the early youth 
of this hero. It is a romance of knight errantry, and is treated 
in the manner of Ariosto. It was published in 1562, and dedi- 
cated to the Cardinal Luigi d'E^te, brother of Alfonso II., the then 
reigning Duke of Ferrara. This vain and ostentatious prince, 
who was sovereign of Ferrara and Modena, from 1559 to 1697, 
exhausted his estates by his extravagance. He was ambitious of 
holding the first rank among the princes of Italy, which he en- 
deavoured to do by assuring to himself the protection of the house 
of Austria, to which he was allied. He welcomed, with ardour, 
the poet» who became the ornament of his court, but whom he 
afterwards treated with so much cruelty. Tasso was invited to 
'Ferrara in 1565. He was lodged in the castle, and a revenue 
was assigned to him, without imposing on him any duties. From 
that period he commenced his Jerusalem Delivered^ the* fame of 
which preceded the publication, and which, known only by de- 
tached parts, was expected with impatience. In 1571, he accom- 
panied the Cardinal d'Este to Paris, where he was honourably 
received. Soon after his return, his Amyntasy which he had 
composed without interrupting his other great work, was repre- 
sented at the Court of Ferrara, with universal applause. He 
now expressed his* hope of rivalling Ariosto ; but in a style more 
elevated than that of the Homer of Ferrara. In a dial<^ue en- 
titled Gonzaga^ he had endeavoured to prove that unity ought to 
prevail in the plan of the epic, and that chivalry, which he really 
adgiired and loved, ought to be seriously treated, whilst all the 
other Italian poets had subjected it to burlesque. His sonnets, of 
which he wrote more than a thousand, and his other lyric poems, 
in which he appears to rival Petrarch, and almost to equal him in 
harmony, sensibility, and delicacy of sentiment, manifest with how 
pure a flame the passion of love possessed his heart, and how de- 
voted was his soul to all that is great, noble, and elevated. Yet 
the courtiers among whom he lived, reproached him with his en- 
thusiastic devotion to women, and with the day-dreams of love and 
chivalry, in which he consumed his life. 

Tasso, admitted to familiarity with the court, thought himself 
sufficiently on an equality there, to entertain and declare a pas- 
sion, the indulgence of which was a source of constant misery to 
him. We learn from his poems that he was enamoured of a lady 
of the name of Eleonora; but he is thought to have been alter* 
nately in love with Leonora d'Este, sifter of Alfonso ; Leonora di 
San^Yital^, iwife of Giuliq di Tiena ; and Lucretia Ben^dio, one 


of the maidi of honour to the princess. If appears that be dis- 
guised, nmlër the name of the second, the too presafnptQCfQ|Lat- 
tentions which he had dared to address to the first. Irtitéble Id 
an excess, imprudent in his discourses, and hurried «way hy pAs- 
sion, he exhibited, in the moment of danger, a degree of valour 
worthy of thé heroic ages : but his mind was troubled when be* 
afterwards reflected on his rashness, and on the propriety #lâcb 
he considered that he had violated. A courtier, in whom he had 
^implicitly confided, maliciously betrayed him. Tasso attacked 
bim with his sword, in the palace of the Duke. His advertary, 
with his three brothers, who had all at the same moment drawn 
their^ swords on the poet, was banished. On another océasioiii 
Tasso aimed a blow at a domestic with his knife, in the apartitientÉ 
of the Duchess of Vrbino, the sister of Alfonso, and was in ten* 
sequence put under arrest. This was in tile year 1677. fitf 
was then tMrty-three years of age. Scarcely had bis mger Sttb* 
aided, wlien lie abandoned himself to terror on the consequencet 
of ins imprudence, to which tiie imaginatioâ of a poet not a little^ 
contributed. His reason became disturl>ed, and he found fneaDS^ 
to escape, and fled as far as Sorrento. He afterwards returned* 
and travelled over all Italy in a sfate of increasing agltaftioD* 
Witltont money, without a passport, without attendants, lie pre- 
sented himself at the gates of Turin, where be was fot some flaie 
refused admittance. Scarcely #as be welcomed, when be Èèè 
from the court of the Duke of Savoy, where he ioMgined he waë 
about to be betrayed. His love-attachment then led bim back ttf 
Ferrara, where his friends interceded for his pardon, and the 
Duke, who thought his honour compromised hf the most cela*- 
brated poet of Italy preferrii^ his complaints, at every éourt, 
against aie house of Este, showed himself stroÀ^y étapoaéd iù 
grant him a kind reception. The poet returned to Ferrara im 
1679, at the time of the celebration of the marriage of Alfensef 
II. with Margaret of Gon^aga. Neglected by the sovere^,*iil 
the midst of these festivities, perceived, ia the 
courtors and domestics, traces of distrust and contempt, and he 
abandoned himself to his resentment with his usua} violence. H 
has also been related of him^ that one dAy, at court, when thé 
Duke and the Princess Eleonora were present, he was so sHiitteil 
wi^ the beauty of the Frtncess, that, in a transport of passion, he 
approached her ané embraced her before all the assembly. The 
Dvke, gravely turning to His courtiers, exptessed his regret that 
so great a man should have been thus suddenly bereft of hie rea- 
son ; and made this circumstance a pi^text for sbuftlng bim up is 
the hospital of St. Anne, an asylum for luniti^s, in Ferrara. Tlriâ 
anecdote is in itself highly doubti\il ; and, even If the conAl^ 
meat in the fint instance had been jtik»tifiaUe, the severity #ith 
wbkh ft was continued arose more from the policy than firotti' the 
anger of the Duke. His pHdé would not permit a man df sd 
much celebrity, whom he had eftnded, to wanhieir thïoU||^ Itilf ; 

4»F 3C.US ITALIANS. ^13 

tikid wh^y after haf mg shed lustre oq his owa court, might depre- 
ciate it» and confer similar glory on another* He wished him to 
be considered mad» in order to justify his own severity ; and, in- 
d^ed« In the eyes of a selfish and unfeeling prince, accustomed 
only to the forms of etiquette, insensible to any other motive of 
action than interest and vanity, Tasso, at a}l times enthusiastic, 
impetuous, irritable as a child, and as suddenly soothed, did not 
widely dilSer from a deranged person. This imprisonment of the 
poet was the cause of an entire aberration of mind. He, in turns, 
imagined that he had held disrespectful language against his 
prince, bad too strongly manifested his love» and had even given 
c^qse to suspect his allegiance. He addressed himself to all his 
frietads, to all ^he : princes of Italy, to Bergamo, his paternal city, 
to the Emperor, and to the Holy inquisition, imploring from them 
his liberation. His body became enfeebled by the agitation of 
his mind. At one time, he thought himself poisoned ; at another 
time, the victim of magic and enchantments ; and terrifying ap* 
paritions haunted his couch in the sleepless hours of night. 

To add to his misfortunes» his poem had been printml without 
bis permission, and from an imperfect copy. Editions were mul- 
tiplied, without his consent, during the very time of his confine-' 
ment ; and the surprise and enthusiasm of the Italian public gave 
rise to the most violent literary disputes respecting his Jertt^em 
Delivered. The admirers of Ariosto saw, with alarm, a new poet 
set up as a rival to their idol, and were exasperated by the en- 
thusiastic devotion which some of the friends of Tasso rendered 
to the poet Camillo Pellegrini, in 1684. endeavoured to show 
how greatly Tasso had excelled Ariosto. This was the signal for 
a general contest; and the detractors of Tasso used the niore 
violence in the attack, as they considered he had been elevated to 
an unjust height. Tasso, in the midst of his sufferings and c«p» 
tivity» still preserved all that vigour of mind which had rendered 
him a poet. He defended himself with warmth, someimes with 
wit, often with snbtlety. He appealed to the authority of Aris- 
totle, ivhom his opponents pretended to set op a» an arbiter be- 
tween Ariosto and himself. But he considered himself humi- 
liated by the decision of the Academy delta Crusca of Florence, 
which declared itself against him, and which was then beginning 
to acquire that authority over the language, which it has since ex^. 
ercised in Italy. From that period, he probably projected, and, 
in 1688, commenced, with a broken spirit, the laborious and irk- 
some task of remodelling his poem. It was thus that he composed 
his Germalémme ConquUtata^ which he lengthened by four cantos. 
Hé suppressed the touching incident of Olindo and Sopbronia, 
wluch, it was objected, served to divert the interest before the 
action was commenced. He chained the name of Rinaldo to Ri- 
cardo^ He represented this hero as one of the Norman con- 
querors of the kingdom of Naples, and deprived him of all 
relationship with the house of Este, which he no longer chose to 
Vol. I. ' 40 

314 ON tBB LITEKAfHIie ' - 

flatter. He corrected words and phrases od which fframmAtké 
criticisms had been made ; bat, at the same time, he depriTed Us 
poem of all life and inspiration. Nearly all the stanzas are 
changed, and almost always for the worse. 1 have seen, in the 
Library of Vienna, the manuscript of-Tasso, with its numerous 
alterations. It is a melancholy monument of a noble genias, 
robbed of its energy and depressed by calamity. 

Tassob was confined, seven years, in the hospital ; and the 

vol ominous writings which came from his pen daring this timei 

failed to convince Alfonso that he was in possession of nis reason. 

The princess of Its^y interposed for Tasso with the Duke, whose 

self-love was interested in resisting all their entreaties ; and the 

more so, because his rivals in glory, the Medici, interfered, with 

more particular earnestness, to procure the liberation of the 

poet. Tasso, at length, obtained his freedom* on the fifth of July, 

1586, at the instance of Vincenzio Gonzaga, prince of Mantou, 

. on the occasion of his marriage with the sister of Alfonso. After 

spending some time in Mantua, he proceeded to the kingdom of 

Naples : but, on his way, he was obliged to write, at Loretto, to 

the Dake of Gaastalla, to ask for the loan of a smaH sum of 

money, without which he could not proceed on his joarney. 1^ 

aftirs, indeed, were at all times deranged, and he always expe* 

rienced the want of money. There is still preserved a will under 

his band, of the year 1573, hy which it is seen that his wardrobe 

was in pledge to the Jews ; and he directs, that, after selling his 

clothes, and discharging what was owing on them, the rest shoaM 

be employed in placing a stone, with an inscription, on his Cither's 

grave. If the money arising from his effect^ shoald not be saf* 

ficient, hé flatters himself that the Princess Eleonora, tlirou^ 

her regard to him, would have the kindness to make up the (te* 

flciency. He survived nine years, residing occasiondly at Borne 

and Naples, chiefly in the houses of illustrious and generous 

friends, who had always difficulty in saving him from the persecu* 

tions of fortune.* His last tetters are filled with details of his 

pecuniary embarrassments. At length, the Cardinal Ciatio AI* 

dobrandini received him into his house, and had prepared a festi* 

val for the occasion, in which it was intended to crown him ia 

the Capitol ; but death deprived him of this honour. The poet, 

whose mind now always dwelt on his healthi and who was co&« 

stantfy administering to himself new and poweiiol medicines, died 

at Rome, on the twenty- fifth of April, 1595, aged fifty-one. 

Although the fame of Tasso rests on his Jerusalem Delivered, 
another of his works, the Amynias^ has obtained a just celebritjr. 
The ibitation of the ancients had, at an early period, giTen a pas- 
toral poetry to the Italians. Virgil had composed eclogues ; and 

*■ ' * ■•"»- ■ ■ -. ^- ^—^-—^ J» -■■■.— - ^ ^ ^ ^ -f .... ^ ^ 

Tàs80> e^. T«nktà) t. %. p» 68. 



the moderns thougbl themselves oUiged to do the like. The 
imitation of this description of poetry may be considered as less 
servile, since the ideal of country life is neai4y the same with the 
aocients and i?ith ourselves. The eclogaes of Virgil paint 
neither what is, nor what .should be, but rather the dreams of 
happiness, inspired by the sight of the country, and the simplicity, 
peace, and innocence, which we love to contrast with real life» 
The Italian tongne seemed better adapted than any other, by its 
simplicity and grace, to express the language of people, whom we 
figure to ourselves as perfectly infantine in their manners. The 
beauty of the climate, the charms of contemplation and indolence 
in these happy countries, seem to (i^spose us to the dreams of 
ï'ural life ; and the manners of the Italian peasants approach 
nearer to the pastoral character than those of any other people. 
The poet was not obliged to turn his steps to Arcadia. The hills 
of Sorrento, where Tasso was born, the borders of the Sebeto, 
or some silent and retired valley in the kingdom of Naples, might, 
with e^uai propriety, become the scene for his ideal shepherds, 
without renouncing the manners and customs of his times. It is 
thus that Tas^o, in his Jerusalem Delivered^ has described as a 
modem shepherd, though at the same time with much ideal 
and poetical effect, the old man who afforded an asylum to 

The numerous Italian poets, who have also composed Buco* 
lies, had adopted another system. Sanazzaro, the most celebrated * 
among them, of whom we ^hall speak in the next chapter, pro- 
posed to himself a close imitation of Virgil. He took his shep* 
herds from the fabulous ages of Greece, and adopted the Grecian. 
mytboloj^. The French pastoral poets, and Gessner among the 
Oemnins, followed in the same path, and were, in my opinion, all 
in error. The heart and tlie imagination do not easily receive 
impressions, to which they are such entire strangers. We will- 
iagly adopt many ideas which are beyond the range of our know- 
ledge ; but it is with repugnance that we receive, as the founda- 
tion of odr poetical belief, what we know to be false. Apollo, 
fauns, nymphs, and satyrs, never make their appearance in 
BMMlem poetry without a chilling effect. Their names alone lead 
us to compare and to judge, and this circumstance is directly op- 
posed to all excitement, sensibility, and enthusiasm. 

Agostino Beccarif^Bpoet of Ferrara, (1510 — 1590,) gave anew 
character to Bucolic poetry, and was the creator of the genuine 
pastoral drama. His piece entitled U Sagrifizio^ was represented 
m 1554, in the palace of Hercules IL then duke of Ferrara, and- 
vras printed in the following year. Beccari, like Sanazzaro, places 
his shepherds in Arcadia, and adopts the manners and mythology 
of antiquity ; but he connects their conversations by the action, 
Of jtttliar by an union of dramatic actions. During the annual 
fcsth^al of Pan, which is celebrated between the mountains of 
M e imhi B and Erimanthus, three couple of rustic lovers, separated 


by various chances, are re-united by the means of two agedsbep- 
herds, and become happy, in spite of the snares which a b^t 
spreads for the shepherdesses, and of the jealoasy with which 
Diana inculcates a cold indifference in her nymphs. A chorus 
and songs are intermixed with this piece, the music of which had 
some celebrity ; but the five long acts of which it is composed 
are frigid and dull. The personages unceasingly discourse, but 
never act. Their languishing conversations create in us a distaste 
for Arcadian love; and a satyr and a drunken hind, wh« were in- 
tended to eiflertain the spectators, revolt us by their rude attempts 
at gayety and wit. 

Eighteen years afterwards, in 1672, Tasso produced his «^tnyn- 
tasy the idea of which he owed in part to the Sagrifizio of Bee- 
cati. This piece, also, belongs to the infancy of the dramatic art. 
However far removed these pastorals might be from the mysteiies' 
by which the theatre had been renewed, it is doubtful whether 
they ivere at all superior to them ; for life and action and tnteresl 
are, at least, as necessary to the drama as a strict observance of 
rules, and a regard to the unities. The AmynUi$y like the Sagri" 
fiziOf and the Orfeo of Politiano, is nothing more than a Usstie of 
ill-connected eclogues. But the talents evinced in the details, the 
charms of the style,, and the colouring of the poetry, atone for all 
defects ; and the illustrious bard has succeeded, even in this ill- 
chosen description of poetry, in erecting a monument worthy of 
his geniuSé 

The plot of the Amynta^ is simple. Amyntas is enamoured of 
Sylvia, who disdains his love. Ûe delivers her from the hands 
of a satyr, who had carried her off ; but obtains, for his services, 
no token of gratitude. She joins the other nymphs in the chace, 
and after having 'wounded a wolf, she flies from him, with the loss 
of her veili which is found torn and stained with blood. The 
shepherds inform Amyntas, that Sylvia has fallen a prey to the 
wolves which she had attacked. He resolves to die, and precipi* 
tatcs hissself from the summit of a rock. A shepherd comes to 
announce his death on the stage, at the moment when Sylvia is 
relating how she has escaped from the jaws of the wolf, to which, 
it was supposed, she had fallen a prey. Insensible until this mo- 
ment, she is now moved with pity, on hearing that Amyntas has 
died for her. She goes in search of his body, to give it burial, 
and resolves to follow him to the tomb ; when it is announced that 
Amyntas is only bruised by his fall, and they are thenceforth hap- 
py in each other's love. The whole of this action, very impro- 
bable, and ill-connected, passes behind the scenes. Each act, of 
which there are five, commences by the recital of an unexpected 
catastrophe. But the success of the Amyntas was owing less to 
the interest of the dramatic part, than to the sweetness of the 
poetry, and to the voluptuousness and passion that breathe iD every 
line. All other thoughts, all other feelings, seem banished from 
Arcadia. The shepherds speak incessantly of dying, and siffl 


their grieâ hare in tfièm nothing sombre or rude. They are the 
milder sorrows of love, which inspire a sort of illusory evrjoy- 

This impression, however, is sometimes weakened by the 
Côncetêif or affected contrast of words and ideas, which began to 
he introduced about this period, jfor the second time, into Italian 
poetry ; and which, inviting imitation by an appearance of wit 
and ingenious invention, subject<^d it, in the succeeding age, to 
the empire of bad- taste. Thus Love is made to say, in the pro- 

But this she knows not ; she is bUnd ; not I, 
Whom blind the vulgar blind bave fabely eaJled.'*' 

In another place, Daphne is made to say : 

Ungraceful was my grace, and to myself 
Unpleasing, all tbat others pleased in me.t 

This play on words, of which Tasso affords a lamentable prece- 
dent, often injures his style, and chills our feelings in his Jemsalem 
Delivered, It occurs frequently in his sonnets ; ahd was more 
easily imitated than his beauties. In other points of view, his 
Amyntas was, for some time, a model which all authors thought 
themselves bound to copy. At the close of the sixteenth centuryi 
twelve or fifteen Italian poets published pastoral dramas. Several 
ladies, a sovereign Prince of Guastalla, and a Jew, named Leon, 
attempted the same description of poetry. Others, ambitious of 
passing for original poets, whilst they were nothing more than 
copyists, transferred the scene to the borders of the sea, and gave 
to the public piscatory dramas, as before we had piscatory and 
marine eclogues. The most celebrated of these compositions is the 
Mcœus of Antonio Ongaro, which, for beauty of versification, will 
bear comparison with the works of the first poets. Bat the an- 
ther followed so closely the footsteps of Tasso in the weaving of 
his plot, and in the incidents, differing only in the scene, which is 
transferred to the abodes of fishermen, that his Alcœus may with 
propriety be termed a marine Jtmyntas, 

TassOy and the writers of dramatic pastorals who have succeeded 
him, have used in their dialogues a versification which served as 
a model to Metastasio, and which, aAer having been admitted as 
the language of the lyric drama, is found to be equally well adapted 
to tragedy. This is the iambic without rhyme» verso seioltOf in- 



* Ciô non eonosce ; e eieca ella, e non io 
Cni cieco, a torto, il cieco volgo appella, 

t £ m' era 
Malgrata la mia gratia, e dispiacsnte 
Quaato di rae piaceTa altrul. 


tenniz^d» whenever t more Uyelj eiprewioo is reqonite, witb 
varies of «ix Byllablev. When the laDguage becomes more orna- 
ineAted,^and the imaginatioo takes a wider range, it is relieyed 
by rhjmes. The higher bhink verse of five iambics, which pos- 
sesses both" dignity and ease, and which holds a place between 
eloquence and poetry, is not, perhaps, in ^1 the movements of 
tenderness and passion^ sufficiently harmonious ; and the inter- 
vention of a short verse relieves it, and gives it a musical and 
pleasing expression. In the same manner, a mixture of rhyme, 
regular lines, and even strophes in the chorus, cames as easily, 
and almost imperceptibly, from the elevated language of conver- 
sation to the highest order of lyric poetry. We seem to feel all 
the musical charm of the language which Tasso has employed, in 
the following verses of the first act, where Amyntas recounts his 
first falling in love : 

* Whfle yet a boy, scarce tall enough to gatlier 
The lowest hanging fruit, I became intimate 
With the most lovely and beloTcd girl 

That ever gave to the winds her lock» of gold. 
Thou know'st the daughter x>f Cydippe and 
Montano, who has such a store of herds, 
Syli^a, the forest's honour, the soul's fireif 7 
Of her I speak. Alas I I lived, one time, 
So fastened to her side, that never turtle 
Was closer to his mate, nor ever will be.^ 

* Our homes were close together, closer still 
Our hearts ; our age conformable, our thoughts 
Still more conformed. With her, I tended nets 
For birds and fish ; with her, followed the stag, 
And the fleet hind ; our joy and our success 
Were common : but in maktitt prey of animals, 
1 fell, I know not how, myself a prey. 

* fissend' io fanehilletto,' si ehe a pena 
Granger potea, eon la man purgeletta, 
A corre i frutti da i piegati rami 
Degli arboscelli, intrinseco divenni 
De la pià vaga e cara ? erginella 
Che mai spiegasse id vento chioma d'ore. 
La figlluola conosf i di Cidippe 
£ di Montan, ricchissimo d armenti, 
Silvia, honor de le selve, ardor de 1' aime ; 
Di quests parte : ahi lasso, vissi à questa 
Cost unito alcon tempo, ehe frh due 
T^rterelle pià ftdacompagnla 

]^on sarà mai ne fue ; 

Congiunti eran gli albèi^ghl, 

Ma pià congiunti i cori : 

Conforme era P etate 

Ma *l psnster pih cmrfbrme. 
Seco tende va insidiè con le reti 
Ai pesci ed agli augelli, e segnitata 
I cervi seco, e le velocidame ; 
£ 1 dOetto e la preda era commune. 
Ma montre io fea rapina d' animaU 
Fai, aon so come, à me stesso rapifOr 


Tmso compof ed a prodigioag Dumber of works. The complete 
eollectioD of them forms twelve volumes in quarto ; but all that 
he has left is not equally worthy of bis genius* Two entire 
volumes are filled with prose ; almost the whole of which consists 
o£ polemic criticism, and is wanting in ease and elevation of style. 
The poet was accustomed to study harmony and dignity only in his 
verse. He wrote a comedy called Gli Intrighi d* Amort. This 
was a description of writing in which, from the original bent of his 
mind, and his melancholy temperament, he was little qualified to 
succeed ; yet the dialogue possesses both facility and grace. 
Towards the close of his life, he undertook a poem on the crea- 
tion. Le sette giornate del Mondo creato ; but his mind was exhausted 
by sufierings, and this poem is remarkable only for the eloquence 
of the style, and the beauty of some of the descriptive parts. A 
tragedy which he wrote, // Torrismondo^ obtained a higher degree 
of reputation* He composed it, during his confinement in ' the 
hospital, and published it iu 1687, with a dedication to the Prince 
Gonzaga, to whom he owed his liberation. The subject is, pro- 
bably, entirely his own invention. A king of the Ostrogoths mar» 
ries hia own sister, mistaking her for a foreign princess. But; 
agreeably to the false idea which the Italians at that time possessed 
of the dramatic art, there i« no real action in this piece. It is 
composed of recitals of what passes off the stage, and of conver- 
sations which prepare new incidents. There is, at the close of 
each act, a chorus of persons, who sing odes or eanzofit\ on the 
ÎDconatancy of all liublunary things. Some scenes are beautifnlly 
developed, but an ill-judged imitation of the ancients has deprived 
the poet of the vigour of his genius. The verses, vtrn id^lli^ 
possess digputy, and sometimes eloquence ; but the piece is, on 
the wbetev cold and uninteresting. The chorus alone, at the 
coDclosion, touches our hearts ; for the poet, in writing it, applied 
it to himself and his misfortunes, and to those illusions of glory^ 
which mm aeemed to fade before his eyes. 

*A9lqnents,nisbingfroni*their Alpine height, * 

As forked lightnings fly 

Athwart the summer skyf 
As wind, as Tapeur, as the arrow's flight, 

Our glories fade in night ; 
Tkt honeur ef oar name Is sped, 
likç a pale flower that droops its languid head. 

* B come alpestree rapide tonrente, 

Come aeeeso baleno 

In nottarno sereno. 
Come aora, ô lumo, 6 eome stral repente, 
Tolan le nostre fame y ed ogai enoro 

6eBhra languido flore. 

3S0 en the U7kratu&£ 

Tlie Hittwiwg finrau of Hop« no more prevtfl ; 

The palm «nd Uuirel fade ; 

While, in the gathering abade. 
Come sad lament, and ^ief, and sonoir pale ; 

Nor Love amy anght avail, 
Nor Friendship's hand can bring relief. 
To check our flowing tears, or stfll our lonely gntC, 


$tata of liiteiatare in the Sixteenth Centnry. — Trissino, Rueellai, Saaazzsro, Beraif 

Machiavelli, Pietro Aretino, &c. 

Our three last chapters were deroted to tvro illartriovts poete^ 
who elevated themselves, in the sixleebth centary, above all their 
rivals, and whose fame, passing beyond the bounds of luljy had 
extended itself over all Europe. In tracing the history of the 
literature of Italy, it is important to distingnisb the most remarka- 
ble of that body of orators, scholars, and poets, who flourished 
in the sixteenth century, and, more particularly, during the pon- 
tificate of Leo X. ; and who gave to Europe an impulse in letters, 
the influence of which is felt to the present day. 

The study of the ancients, and the art of poetry, had been uni* 
versally encouraged during the fifteenth century. All the free 
cities, as well as the sovereigns of Italy, endeavoured, to assume 
to' themselves the glory of extending their protection to literalture. 
Pensions, honours, and confidential employs, were bestowed on 
men who had devoted themselves to the study of antiquity» and 
who best knew how to expound and to contribute to the restora* 
tion of its treasures. The chiefs of the republic of Florence, the 
Dukes of Milan, of Ferrara, and of Mantua, the Kings of Naples, 
and the Popes, were not merely friends of science. Having 
themselves received classical educations, they were, almost all, 
better acquainted with the ancient languages, with the rules of 
Greek and Latin poetry, and with all relating to antiquity, than 
the greater part of onr scholars of the present day. This uni- 
versal patronage of letters was not, however, of lasting duration. 
The rulers of states even pursued, in the sixteenth century, a con- 
trary course ^ but it was not sufficient to arrest the impression which 
had been made, and to check the impulse already given. 

Che piu si spera, o che s' attende ornai ? 

Dopo trionfo e palma, 

Sol qid restano all' alma 
Lutto e lamenti, e lagrimosi lai. 
Che pià gioYa amicizia ô gioTa amore ? 

Ahilagrime! ahidoiore! 



The first penecation which letters experienced la Itely, dates 

from the middle of the fifteenth century. It was short-lived, hut 

Tiotent, and has left melancholy traces in the history of literatare. 

The city of Rome was desirous, after the example of other capi* 

tals, of founding an academy, consecrated to letters and to the' 

study of antiquity. The learned Popes, who had been elevated 

^0 the chair of St. Peter, in the fifteenth century, had beheld 

witli satisfaction, and encouraged this literary zeal. A young man» 

an illegitimate son of the illustrious house of San Seyerino, but 

who, iiistead of issuming .his family appellation, embraced the 

Roman naoië of Julius Pomponins Laetus, after harlng finished hk 

studies under Lorenzo Valla, succeeded him, in 14d7, in the chair 

of Roman eloquence. He assembled around him, at Rome, -all 

those who possessed that passion fi>r literature and for ancient 

philosophy, by which the age was characterized. Almost all were 

yàung men ; and, in their enthusiasm for antiquity, they gave 

Ulernselves Greek and Latin names, in imitation of their leaders* 

In their meetings, it is said, they declared their predilection fer 

the manners, the laws, thé philosophy, and even the religion oT 

antiquity, in oppoèition to those of their own age. Paul II. wh4 

was then Pope, was not, like many of his predecessors, indebted 

to a lore of letters for his elevation to the pontificate. Suspieibili, 

jealous, and cruel, he soon became alarmed at the spirit oF re* 

search and Inquiry which marked the new philosophers. He felt 

hoW greatly the rapid progress of knowledge might contribute te 

ëliake the authority or the Church, and he viewed the devotion 

ëf these scholars to antiquity, as a general conspiracy against the 

state and the holy faith. Thé academy, of which Pomponiiis 

Lœtiis was the chief, seenied particularlv to merit his attention. 

b Hie midst of the Carnival, in 1468, whilst the people of Rome 

Were occupied itith the festival, he arrested all îhû membéfti of 

tl»e aicatftemy who were then to be found in the capital. I^tmipo- 

êius ïia^tis alone waé absent. He had retired to Venice, the 

jft^r after the etèvation of Paul II. to the pontificate, and had reî- 

ègiiéêiikere three years ; but, as he held a correspondence HUk 

\3Së acérdeiàiciahs as Boolié, the Pope beheld in him the chief of 

toi édnffpirady» tidd procured his apprehension, through tiie faronr 

h[ iAk Vénéùiîn senate. The academicians were then imprisoned 

iifd'iioiSBMiëd io^i taàiêt cruel tortures. One of the number, 

H^^ifiâe X>àti]lpano, a yoùâg man of great expectations, et^ired 

iaSà^y Wk sUBë^ih^. The dthèrs, among whom were Pomponins 

Uhisëlf^flità l^liânâ, the historian of the Popes, underwent the 

ttMlMV^hbhl^bercdbfessidh ù1 aây criminal motivé beii^extorled 

t^asmi Thb VMt, éifàiq>eratèd at their obstmacy, repaired 

lAbkf IdîtRë «!asde<]fF8t. Angèlo, and' ordered the intenogatoriei 

liè'b%rii^^lft«a'<fiid#hM oWn eyes ; not upon the supposed cob- 

s^#«^itÂi(^dfi sbt^i^^^f fidtb, in oMefto detect the acadètnicians 

Wh^M^Vitmcë fyaméa ; IJttfiiithii he was disappointed, fie 

«ëUMTylBkiil^êf, mCëàyfimiSvfko shoûlJTname the acadétoy, 

Vol- I. 4Î 



either seriously or in jest, should theoceforih be considered a 
heretic. He detained the nofortunate captives a year in prison ; 
and| when he at length released them, it was without acknowle(i^;ing 
their innocence. The death of Paul II. put an end to this system 
of persecution. Siztus IV. his successor, con6ded to the care of 
Platina the library of the Vatican, and he allowed Pomponioa 
L^tus to recommence his public lectures. The latter succeeded 
in reassembling his dispersed academicians. He was esteeoaed 
for his probity, his simplicity, and his austerity of manners. He 
deroted hu life to the study of the monuments of Rome ; and it 
is more particularly owing to him, that we have been enabled la 
form a correct judgment on its antiquities. He died in 1498* His 
death was regarded as a public calamity, and no scholar liad, for 
a long period, obtained such distinguished obaequies. 

The persecution of Paul II. was a direct attack upon literaftare. 
But the public calamities wbich succeeded, overwhelmed all Italy, 
and reached every class of society, at the same moment, Th^ 
commenced in the year 1494, with the invasion of Italy, by Charlei 
yilL The sacking of cities, the rout of armies, and the misfor* 
tones and death of a great number of distingnisbed men ; evUs. 
always accompanying the scourge of war; were not the only 
fiital consequences of this event* It was a death blow to the inde- 
pendence of Italy ; and, from that period, the Spaniards and the 
flermans disputed the possession of her provinces. After a series 
of ruinous wari and numberless calamities, fortune declared her* 
«elf in favour of Charles Y. and his son. The Milanese and tho 
kingdom of Naples remained under the sovereigiity of the hofne 
ef Austria; «ind all the other states, which yet preserved any ie* 
dependence, trembled at the Aostrian. power, and dared to refuse 
Aothmg to the wishes of the Imperial ministers. All feeling of 
nationd pride was destroyed. A sovereign princo could not afford 
an asylum, in bis owo states, to any of his unfortunate sob^ecte, 
whom a viceroy might choose to denounce. The entire face oi' 
lUdy was changed. Instead of princes, the frienda of arts aad 
letters, who had long reigned in^Milan and NafAes, e %Nulah 
governor, distrustful and cruel, now ruled by the aid of spies and 
informers. The Gonzagas of Mantua plunged into pleasures, and 
Tioe, to forget the dangers of their situation. AJfonse IL, aft 
-|tf odena and Ferrara, attempted, by a vain ostentation, to nwiotaiii 
the appearance of that power which he had lost* In place of the 
republic of Florence, the Athens of the middle ages, the iwrse 
of arts and sciences, and in the place of the early Medicit the 
enlightened restorers of philosophy and letters, thm tyrantsi ie 
the sixteenth century, succeeded eadi other jn Tuscany : the 
ferocious and voluptuous Alexander ; Cosmo I.» /buder ef^tbe 
second house of Medici* whç rivalled his model andconteaapomy» 
PhilipU* in profound dissimulation and in cruelty ; and Francis I.» 
his son, who, bjr his savage suspicion, earned to ita heî^ the 
o|»pres9için of bis states. Rome abo, whicl^ it the 



mtvt of the cental^, had possessed, id Leo X., a magiianiinous 
pontiff, a frieod of letters, and a generous protector of the fine 
arte and of poetry, w«s now become jealous of the progress of the 
Refermirtion, and only occupied herself In resisting the dawning 
powers of the haman intellect. Under the pontificates of Paul 
IV., Pm IV., and Pins V., (15551672,) who were elevated by 
the Milerest of the Inquisition, the persecution against letters and 
the academies was renewed, in a systematic and unrelenting 

Such, notwithstanding, had been the excitement of the human 
mind hi the preceding century, and so thickly were the germs of 
Ikerature scattered from one end of Italy to the other, by an 
^iTersal emulation, that no other country can be said to hâve 
raised itself to a higher pitch of literary glory. Among the 
Dmnbers of men who had devoted themselves to letters, Italy 
produced, at this glorious epoch, at least thirty poets, whoin their 
contemporaries placed on a level with the first names of antiquity, 
and whose fame, it was thought, would be commensurate with the 
evistenee of the world. But even the names of these illustrious 
men begin to be forgotten ; and their works, buried in the libraries 
of the learned, 'are, now, seldom read. 

T^he circumstance of their equality in merit, has, doubtless, 
teen an obstacle to the duration of their reputation. Fame does 
not possess a strong memory. For a*long flight, she relieves her* 
self from all unnecessary incumbrances. She rejects, on her de- 
parture, and in her course, many who thought themselves accepted 
by her, and she comes do%vn t6 lute ages, with the lightest possi- 
ble burthen. Unable to choose between Bembo, Sadoleti, Sanaz- 
mtOi Bernardo Accolti, and so many others, she relinquishes them. 
all. Many other names will also escape her ; and we perceive 
the btiadoess o^ our presumption, when we compare the momen- 
tary reputations of our own day with the glory of the great men 
of antiquity. The latter, we behold coospicuous through a sue* 
ceaaion of ages, like the loftiest summits of the Alps, which, the 
fiirther we recede from them, appear to rise the higher. 
' But what most contributed to injure the fame of the illustrioua 
asen of the sivteenth century, was the unbounded respect which 
they prc^essed for antiquity, and the pedantic erudition which 
•tiied their genius. Their custom, also, of writing always after 
modelS) which were not in harmony with their, manners, their 
ebaracfeers, and their political and religious opinions ; and their 
efforts te revive the languages in which the great works which 
they admired were composed, materially tended to this result* It 
has long been said, that he who only translates will never be 
tmislated ; and he who imitates, renounces at the same time the 
hope of being imitated. Still, the noble efforts of these studious 
men in the cause of letters, the recollections of their past glory, 
and the celebrity which yet attaches to them, merit an inquiry, 
on our part, |nto the histi^y of their most distinguished scholars* 


I _ 

We hi? e already spoken of Triaiino» in mentioniog l|ia ^ic 
poem of baiia Libtratat and we have seen how omch this loQg* 
expected work disappointed the general eipectation. It is pfi* 
stble, fail in writing an epic poem, and still to possess 
claims to distinction. Gian-Giorgio Trissino bad, in fiict« sufficient 
merit to justify that celebrity which, daring a whole eentar^v 
placed bis name in the first rank in Italy. ' Born at Yiceoza« in 
1478, of an illustrious family, he was equally qualified» by Ms 
education, for letters and for public basiness. He came to Rene 
when he was twenty-foor years of age, and had resided there a 
considerable time, when Pope Leo X., struck by bis talents, sent 
him, as his ambassador, to the Emperor Maximilian. Under the 
pontificate of Clement VII. hé was also chained with embassies to 
Charles Y. and to the Republic of Venice, and was decorated by 
the former with the order of the Golden Fleece.* . In the midal 
of public affairs he cultivato) with ardour, poetry and the Ian* 
guages. He was rich ; and possessing a fine taste in architecture! 
he employed Palladio to erect a country-house, in the best atyle, 
at Criccoli. Domestic vexations, and more particularly a law*suit 
with his own son, embittered his latter days. He died in 16(0» 
aged serenty-two. 

The most just title to fame possessed by Trissino» is founded 
on his Safoniiba^ which may be considered as the first regular 
tragedy since the revival of letters ; and which we may» with 
stiU greater justice» regard as the last of the tragedies of anii* 
quity, so exactly is it founded on the principles of the Grecian 
dramas, and, above all, on those of Euripides. He wantf , it is 
true, the genius which inspired the creators of the dranm at 
Athens, and a more sustained dignity in the character of the pm? 
cipal personages ; bot, to a scrupulous imitation of the ancients, 
Trissino had the art of uniting a pathetic feeling, and he succeeded 
in moving his audience to tears. 

Sophonisba, daughter of Asdrubal, and wife of Sypbax, king 
of Numidia, ailer having been promised to his rival, MassiiMsae, 
learns, in Cirtha, where she is shut up» the defeat and captivity ^ 
her husband* Soon afterward, Massinissa himself enters the s«ne 
city, at the head of his army, and finds the queen surrounded bj 
a chorus of women of Cirtha. Sophonisba, supported by the 
chorus, implores Massinissa to spare her the humiliation of being 
deliveied, a captive, to the Romans. Massinissa, after kaving 
shown how far he b himself dependent on that people» and bow 
difficult it will be to grant this fiivour, pledges, at the same time» 
his word to the queen, that she shall nbt be delivered up alive* 
But soon after, at the same time that his former love for the queen 
revives, the difficulty of rescuing Sophonisba increases» in C0iise« 

* ^ ikoaid seem that ChailM y. persiitled him only to add ttis deeeraHon 
la bit anas, «ithsot enrolliag Mm aaKSng the kaights. 


qoeace at the ^obuds enteriag the city in foree ; and he det- 
patches a messenger to Laslitts, |o aonoonce to him that he had 
married SophoiiUba, in order that she mi^ht not be regarded as an 
enemy. Lsslius warmly reproaches M^ssioissa with the marria^» 
as renderijQg him. the ally of the greatest enemies of Rooie. Oo ' 
the other part, Syphaz, now a prisoner, accuses Sophonisha of 
being the cause of his calamity ; and rejoices to find that his ene^ 
my has married her, as he feels assured that she will drag him into 
the same abyss into which he had himself been precipitated by 
her. Massinissa resists, with firmness, the orders of Lelius mm 
Cato, to relinquish Sophonisha, as the captive of Rome ; but 
when Scipio, in his turn^ presses him, employing alternately an* 
thority, persuasion, and friendship, Massinissa, onab^le farther It 
excuse himself, yields to his entreaties ; but demands permisaioii 
to fulfil the promise he had given to Sophonisha, not to deliver 
her alive to the Romans. He then sends to her, tiy the hands of 
a messenger, a cup of silver, with poison, informing her, that ttl 
he could not keep the first part of his promise, he, at all erents» 
assures her of the second, and desiring her, if the occasion should 
become urgent, to cooduct herself in a manner worthy of h^ 
noble blood. Sophonisha, id fact, after having sacrificed »to Pro^ 
•erpiae» swallows the poison, and returns on the tiaige to die» i^ 
the arms of her sister and of the women who compose the choruf « 
Massinissa^ who had not relinquished the hope of saving her, and 
who intended to resciye her in the night, and to transport her tn^ 
Carthage, returns too late to execute his project ; but he ptaoas 
her son and her sister in safety. The piece is not divided into 
acts and scenes, because this division did not exist in the GrecM 
drama, and ifras subsequently invented ; but the chorus, w)io ooikr 
staotly occupy the stage, and mingle in the dialogue, singi wheQ 
left alone, odes and lyric stanzas, which, by jdiy^dpyof i^e a^o^; 
ijve repose to the piece. 

It would, doubtless, be easy to multiply criticisms pfi this piece, 
writteoi as it was, in the infancy of the dramatic art. apd wUhofil 
a fci^owledge of stage effect. It is unnecessary to animadvert eiUMW 
on .the narrative, in which Sophonisha recounts to her sfstjer tlHi 
lûstory of Carthage* from the reign of Dido to ibfi aecond Pindo 
war ; 09 the' improbability pf a chorus of female fingers aliwiipf 
occupying the sti^, even when the soldiers of the eoe^iy t^er tfai 
cii^ aa conquerors ; on the entire want of interest in the chara<^im 
of Syphax, L^lius, Cat9, and Scipio himself; on the w:eakness of 
Sophonisha, who, 00 the day that her husband is made prisoner, 
marries ^is enem^ ; 9r, in short, on the contemptible par| ^u^igued 
t9 JIf asaifiissa. It is ef»y to any one to urge these defects, and iher# 
is no ffsar pf ^leir be^g imitatecL But it is to be regi^etted that 
th^ fiç^ci(ernsû^p }fka& n^t profite^ nore by the Greece ^^el wAacb 
TiHiss^ ^aVgîlTeç. Hjs chorus» nboye al), i^ in the t^ne spirit 
^p^ çhfirfç^r of antiquity. With thf^ ^pcientç, Ihe^ whde iWea 
were public ; their heroes lived in the midst of their fellow«eM}» 


Z9m, and their princesset, among their women. ' The choras, the 
friends and comforters of the nnhappy, transport us to the ancient 
times and ancient manners. We cannot, and ooght not to introduce 
tkem into pieces, of which the subject is modern ; hot, in ex- 
elading them from those dramas which are founded on the histoiy 
and mythology of the ancients, Mud substituting, in their stead, the 
presence of modem confidants, we ascribe to the Greeks the cus- 
toms and laniçoage of our own age and of our own courts. 

The poetry of Trisstno is equally deserving of praise. He 
lud remarked that the Greeks, in their best works, did not confine 
tragedy to the style of a dignified conversation ; but lavished on 
It the richness of their numerous metres; applying them to the 
Tsriovis situations in which their actors were placed ; sometimes 
confining them to iambics, which contributed only to a somewhat 
loftier expression ; and sometimes raising them to the most harmo- 
nioQS lyric strophes. He saw also that they proportioned the 
flight of their imagination to the metre which they employed ; 
Speaking, by turns» as orators or poets, and rising, in their lyric 
strophes, to the boldest images. Trissino alone, among their mo- 
dern imitators, has preserved this variety. The usual language 
of his heroes is in versi $ciolti, blank verse ; but, according to the 

Sssions which he wishes to express, he soars to the most varied 
rms of the ode, or canzone^ and by this more poetical language 
be proves that the pleasure of the drama consists not wholly in the 
imitation of nature, bat also in the ideal beauty of that poetic 
worM which the author substitutes for it. 

Trissino, like the Greeks, has not treated of a love-intrigne, 
b«t of a great political revolution, the fall of an ancient kingdom, 
Mid the pablic misfortunes of an heroine, who, to the pride of 
royalty^ united the sentiments and virtues of a citizen of Carthage. 
He has placed this action before the eyes of his audience, more 
strongly than those who have succeeded him. There are, it 
most be acknowledged, many recitals made by the messengers, 
aftd all are too loug; but we see Sophonisba expecting and re- 
ceiving the intelligence of the defeat of Syphax, and of the loss 
•f her kingdom ; we see her meet Massinissa, supplicate him, 
and obtain his promise of protection ; we see the Numidian pri- 
soners conducted before the Roman Praetor ; Massinissa, resisting 
Lsslius and Cato, but yielding to Scipio ; and Sophonisba expiring 
OD the stage. It is from this last scene that 1 shall borrow a frag- 
ment, to show the powers of Trissino in the pathetic. 

Sophonisba, led on the stage, after having swallowed poison, 
e«nmends her memory to the women of Cirtha, and implores 
Heaven that her death may contribute to their repose. She bids 
fiurewell to the beloved light of day, and to the smiling face of 
eafftfa. Taming, then, to her sister Erminia, who requests to fol* 
low, and to die with her, she intrusts to her care her infant son, 
«id obtains from Erminia a promise that she will live for bis 

or Tas ITALIA|IS« 




* SoPfe. Th«t thoa thy pity gi^'at U to my heart 
Sweet solace, and to death J go resignM ! 
Yet» from my bands, receire my darling eon. 
Beloved gift, and from a hand beloved. 
Hencefortb, let bim in thee a mother find. 
Wiliinçiy, finco of thee he is deprived. 

Soph. son, sweet son» when of thy mother's breast 

Thou hast most need, I'm torn from thee for e?er. 
Ban. Alas ! ^ucb sorrow who can e'er «survive 7 
Soph. Time is the assuager of ali morta) grief. 
Eem. Sister, I pray thee, let me follow thee ! 
Soph. Ah ! no, my cruel death may well suffice. 
Eem. Fortune, bow swift thou robb'st me of all bliss. 
Soph. O my dear mother, thou art far away 1 

that I mighty at least, behold thy face 
Once more, once more embrace thee, era I die ! 
Thrice happy she, whose lot is not to see 
This cruel stroke of fate ; for sorrow, when 
Narrated, carries not so keen a barb. ' * 

* Soph. O my fond father, brothers, Sfl beloved» 

Long is it since I saw you, and, alas ! 

1 see you now no more. The gods befriend you! 
Eau. Ah ! what a treasure they must this day loose ! 

* Soph. My sweet Erminia, in this mournful hour 

Thou art my father, brother, sister, mother ! 
Erm. Thrice happy could I but for one sulfice I 
Soph. Ah me ! my strength forsakes me, and I feel 

Life ebb apace. I struggle, now, with death* 

















Molto mi place che tu sia disposta 
Di compiacermi, or morirô contenta ; 
Ma tu, sorella mia, primieramente 
Prendi 1 mio figliolin da la mia mano. 
O da che cara man, che caro donc I 
Ora in vece di me gl^8arai madré. 
Cosi fard, poiche di voi fia privo. 
O figlio, figlio, quando più bisogpio 
Hai de la vita mia, da te mi parte. 
Oimè, corne farù fra tanta duglia? 
Il tempo suol far lieve ogni dolore. 
Deh, lasciatenii ancor venir con toL 
Basta, ben bay ta de la morte mia. 
fortuna crudel, di che mi spogli ! 
O madré mia, quanto lontana siete ! 
Almen potuto avessi una sol volta 
Yedervi ed abbracciar ne la mia morte» 
Felice lei, felice, che non vede 
Qoesto caso crudel : cb* assai men grate 
Ci pare il mal che «olamente s' ode. 
O caro padre, o doici miei fratelli ! 
Quant' è ch' io non vi viddi, ne più mai 
Vaggio a vedere ! Iddio vi faccia lieti. 
O quanto, quanto ben perderann' ora ! 
Erminia mia, tu sola a questo tempo 
Mi sei padre, firatel, soralta, e madré. 
Lassa, valessi pur per on di loro. 
Or seato ben che la virtà mi manca 
A poco a poco» a tutteTîa atouBiao. 



Emu. Alas ! how heavy falli thy fate on me ! 

Soph. But who are yoo ? whence come they t and whom aoek they 7 

Erm. Ah ! wretched me ! what do thine eyes hehoM 7 

Soph. What ! aee'st thoa not this arm that dngi me down ? 

Ah ! whither wilt thou «natch me 7 Be not rude ; 

I know my fate, «nd, willin|$, follow thee. 
Ebm. O boundless sorrow ! grief ineffable ! 
Soph. Why weep ye 7 Know ye not that all of earthy 

When born to life, are destined heirs of death 7 
Cbor. Ah yes ! but thou art all untimely snatch'd 

From life, and hast not reach'd thy twentieth year. 
Soph. A welcome boon nerer too soon arriTes. 
Eau. Sad boon, that whelms us all in utter wo. 
Soph. Sister, approach, support me ; for my brain 

Is disxy, and night gathers o'er my eyes. 
EnM. Recline upon my bosom, sister dear ! 
Soph. Sweet son ! few moments, and thou hast no more 

A mother. May the gods watch over thee ! 
Eam. Ah I me ! what direful words are these I hear 

Thee utter 7 — Stay; ah ! stay l^eare us not yet. 
Soph. Vain wish ! death drags me on the darksome way. 
Ehm. Ah ! yet look up ! thy babe would Mm thy lips. 
Choe. A single look. 
Soph. Ah I me, I can no more. 
Choe. The gods receive thy soul ! 
Soph. I dic^arewell ! 

Erm. Quanto amaro è per me questo Yiacgio ! 
Sop. Che reggio qui7 Che nuovagentee questa^ 
Eem. Oimè infelke 7 Che redete toi 7 
Sop. Non vedete roi questo che mi tira 7 

Ciiefai7 doremimeni7 lo so ben dore! 

Lasciami pur, ch' io me ne vengo teco» 
Erm. che pietate, o che dolore estremo ! 
Sop. a che piangete 7 Non sapete ancora j 

Che' eio che nasce, a morte si desttna 7 
CoRo. Aimé ehe questa è pur troppo per tempo ; 

Ch' ancor non siete nel rlgesim' anno. 
Sop. n ben, esser non pu6 troppo per tempd« 
Ebm. Ch» duro ben è quel che ci distrugge 1 
Sot. AeeoitateTi a me, TOglio eppoggiarmi^ 

Chlo mi sento mancare ; e gâlla notte 

Tenebrosa ne Tien ne gli occhi mieù 
Erm. Appoggiateri pur sopra '1 mio petto. 
Sop. O nglio mio, tn non araî piu madre : 

Ella gjà se ne ?à ; statti con Dio, 
Erm. Oim^ ehe eosa dolorosa ascolto ! 

Non ci laseiate ancor, non ci laseiate î 
Sop. I non posso fhfr altro, e sono in fia. 
Erm. Alsate tIso a questo che n bascia. 
OoRO. Rignardateto un poco. 
Sop. AiÎQidy non poMO* 

CoRO. Dio n necolgà in pace. 
Sop. loTédô. Âdlfio. 


Trifisioo also wrote a comedy after the ancient model, with all 
the personsigçs of the pieces of Terence, and even wiUi the cho- 
rus, which the Romans, in their improyements, had excluded 
from the stage. It is called / SimUlimi; the everlasting twins, 
which appear in all theatres. He also left a number of sonnets 
and canzoni, written in imitation of Petrarch, but little deserviog 
of our notice. 

A friend of Tris^ino, Giovanni Rncellai, laboured with not less 
zeal, aod often with more taste to reader the modem Italian po- 
etry entirely classical, and to introduce, into every class of it, ft 
pare imitation of the ancients. Born at Florence, in 1476, and 
allied to the house of Medici, he was employed in afiairs of state. 
After the elevation of Leo X. to the pontificate, he entered int(> 
orders, without, however, obtaining, either from him or from tlle- 
inent YII. a cardinal's hat, to which honour he aspired* He died 
in 1625, at the castle of St. Angelo, of which he was governor. 

His most celebrated production is a didactie poem on Beesy of 
^bout fifteen hundred lines, which receives a particular interest 
from the real fondness which Riicellai seems to have entertained 
lor these creatures. There is something so sincere in his respect 
for their virgin purity, and in his admiration of the order of their 
^vernment, that he inspires us with real interest for them. AU 
lia descriptions are full of life and truth.* 

* The de8eription,<ivliich Racellai gires of llis cifil wars of the Bsm^ is 
extremely pleasing. He thus explains the readiest waj of i^attiAga stop tè 
tibeir battles: 

Delay not, instant seize a fiill-lea?ed branch. 

And through it pour a shower, in minute drops^f ^ . 

Of honey mingled, or the grape^s rieh juice* 

Bre finished, you shall wondering behold 

The furious war&re suddenly suppeased ; 

And the two warring bands joynd unite, 

And foe embraeing foe ; each with its lips 

Lieldnf the other's winçs, feet, arms, and breast^ 

Wherem the luscious mature hath been shed, 

And all inebriate with delight. As when 

The switzers, in sedition, sudden seize 

Their arms, and raise the wai^ery ; if a man 

Of aspect grare, rising, with gentle voice 

Beproving, mitigates Uieir savage rage, 

Then to uem yields full vases of rich Wine ; 

Bach, in the foaming bowl, plunges hia lips 

And bearded chin ; nis fellow, imh fond kis^ 

Bmbraces, making sudden league or truce ; 

And, with the bounty of the grape o'eipowefd, 

Drinking oblivion of their injuries. 

Nonindogiar; pi^ûnfrondbsorsmo, 
£ prestamente sppra quelle spargi 
Mutttissima piofina, ove si truovi 
n malo infttfo, o 1 dolce nmor de Tuva ; 
VdL. I. 42 



His poem is written in blank vene, bnt with {^reatlMraMNiy and 
grace. The Bees tbemsehres, who, it is said, dread the neigh-» 
bourhood of an echo^forbade him the use of rhyme* He tfans 
opens his poem : 

As bending o'er my lyre to nng your pndae 
In lofty rfaymesy chaste TÔsins, angels fivr. 
That haunt the spaiUing river's floweiy nusqge. 
At the first dawn of day, a sudden sleep 
Surprised me, and in dréama I saw descend 
A choir of your ûûr race, and from their tongues, 
Tet redolent of honeyed sweets, these words 
I heard. O Friend, that hononi^st thus our race, 
Shun, in thy dulcet verse, the harbarous rh^me ; > 
For well thou know'st that image of the voice 
Which babbles forth from Echo's airy cave. 
Was ever to our realm a hated foe.* 

Bnt it was as a tragic poet that Rncellai attempted to tread in the 
footsteps of his friend Trissino, alihoogh in this respect he ap* 
pears to be much inferior to him« Two dramas oi Rncellai re- 
main» written in bUink verse, with a chorus, and as moeh resefli- 
blingthe Oreciaii pieces in their distribution, as a learned Italian 

Che fintto questo, subito vedrai 

Son sol quetarsl n cleco ardor de 1* Ira, 
A insieme unirsi allègre ambe le parti, - 
£ V una abbracciar P al^ e con le labbrà 
Leccarsi 1' afe, i pie, le braccfa, il petto, 
Ove il dolce sapor sentono sparse, 
E tntte inebbriarsi di dolcezza. 
Come 4nando nei Sulzzeri si mnove 
Bedlsione, e 6he si grida a 4^ arme ; 
Se qualche uom grave allor si leva in plede 
E comincia a panar con dolce lingua, 
Mitiga i petti barbari e foroci ; 
E intanto U portare ondanti tasi 
Fiem di dolci ed odOrati vini ; 
Allora ognun le hbbra e 1 mento immttgt 
Ne le spomsnti tszze, ognnn con riso 
S'abbraceia e bacia, e fanno e pace e ttêgoii 
Inebbriati da P umor de 1' uva 
Che fa obblisr tutti i pftssati oltraggi. 

* Mentr' era per cantar i vostvi doni 
Con alte rimoi o Veninette caste» 
Vagfae «Bgellettedell'^etboie rire ; 
Freso \ilal sonno in sul spuntar delT slbs, 
M' apparte on «oro della vottra a^nte ; 
£ dalla lingua, onde s' aecoglie U mela, 
Sciolsono m ehiâre voci queste parole : 

O spirito amico .... 

Fossi le rime,' o *1 rimbomW ionovo ; 
Tu kai pur che 1 ifflmagtn d« ht toes» 
Che risponde dai isssi ovs Eeo alheigai 
Senprs nemiea iù del aottro Règnes 

*r » 



coald iQake them, at an epoch when the study of antiquity was the 
first of scieaces. One of these is entitled Ronnanda^ and the 
other, 'Orestes. Rosmonda, the wife of Alboin, the first king of the 
Lombards, who, to avenge her father, destroyed her husband, 
was a new subject for the stage. Rucellai altered historica] facts 
sufiBciently happily, in order to connect events which a long 
space of time had in ' reality separated ; to unite more intimately 
causes and effects ; and to describe the former relation of h*is cha- 
racters to each other. But Rosmonda is only the sketch of a tra- 
gedy The situation is not marked by any developement ; time is 
not given for the exhibition of the passions ; nor are they at all 
communicated to the spectators. Conversations and long dialogues 
usurp the place which ought to be reserved for action ; and the 
atrocity of the characters and events, which are rather related 
than shown, forbids all sympathy. The other tragedy of Rucellai 
is an imitation of Euripides, and is called Orestes, although the 
subject is that known under the name of Iphigenia in Tauris. But 
the example of th^ Greek poet has not availed Rucellai. His- 
piece is deficient in interest, in probability, and, above ail, in action. 
The Italian dramatists of the sixteenth century, seem to have 
aimed at copying the defects rather than the beauties of the 
Greeks. If there chance to be, in the dramas of the Greeks, any 
unskilful exposition, or any recital of overwhelming tediousness, 
they never fail to tiike it for their model. It would almost appear 
to have been their intention that Sophocles and Euripides should 
be received with hisses ; and they seem to wait, at the conclusion 
of the piece, to inform us that the part which has so wearied us is 
from the ancients. Euripides had the fault of multiplying moral 
precepts, and philosophical dissertations ; but one of his maxims 
18 only like the text to a commentary in Rucellai. The chorus, ' 
which the ancient poet devoted to generalize the ideas and senti- 
ments arising out of the action, became, in tlie hands of his Italian 
imitator, the depository of that trivial philosophy, to which senti- 
ment is no less a stranger than poetry. The recognition of Ores- 
tes and Iphigenia is retarded and embarrassed to a degree of 
tediousness. No character is perfectly drawn ; no situation is 
managed in a manner «to render it touching ; and the catastrophe, 
tibe circumstance of the flight of Iphigenia and the Greeks, has 
not only the defect of not having been premeditated and foreseen, 
. but even excites our laughter, instead of engaging our sympathy ; 
sbce Thoas, alarmed at the predictions of the prophetess, and 
placed under lock and key, with all his guard, suffers himself to 
be duped 'like the tutor of a comedy. 
The early Italian drama comprises a considerable number of 

Î pieces. But the pedantry which gave them birth, deprived them, 
roip their cradle, of all originality, and all real feeling. The ac- 
tion and the representation, of which the dramatic poet should 
never for an instant lose sight, are constantly neglected; and phi- 
losophy and erudition usurp the place of the emotion necessary to 


the seene. Alamanni, in his Antigoney possesses more trutli and sen- 
sibility than Rucellai, in his Orestes; but he has rather translated 
than imitated Sophocles. Sperone *Speroni d' Alvarotti wrote a 
tragedy on the subject of Canace, the daughter of iBolos, whom 
her father cruelly punished for an incestuous passion ; but this is 
scarcely the outline of a tragedy, and nothing more than partial 
conversations on the most calamitous events. There is, perhaps, 
a greater degree of talent in the Œdipus of Giovanni Andrea dell* 
Anguillara ; in the Jocasta and Mariana of Lodovico Dolce ; and, 
above all, in the Orbecche of Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cintio, of 
Ferrara. This last piece, which was represented in the house of 
the author, in Ferrara, in 1541, excites and keeps alive our cu- 
riosity. In some scenes, it even awakes, in the minds of the spec- 
tators, alarm, terror, and pity. But Giraldi composed his trage-^ 
dies from tales of his own invention, which possessed neither 
truth nor probability ; and the Arrenopia is as absurd as the Or- 
hecche is extravagant. The soliloquies are dull and frigid ; we 
have dialogues, instead of action ; and a chorus of pretended ly- 
rics, which contain only common ideas clothed in rhyme, destroys 
all sympathy ds soon as it is heard. 

The inferiority of the Italians to the Spaniards, in dramatic in* 
vention, is remarkable ; and particularly at the epoch of their 
greatest literary glory. These pretended restorers of the thea- 
tre conformed, it is true, to all the precepts of Aristotle, from the 
time of the sixteenth century, and to the rules of classical poetry, 
even before their authority was proclaimed. But this avails little, 
when they are wanting in life and interest. We cannot read these 
tragedies without insufferable fatigue ; and it is difficult to form 
an idea of the patience of the spectators, condemned to listen to 
these long declamations and tedious dialogues usurping the place 
of the action, which ought to be brought before their eyes. The 
Spanish comedies, on the contrary, although extravagant in their 
plots, and irregular in their execution, always excite our attention, 
curiosity, and interest. It is with regret that we suspend the pe- 
rusal of them in the closet, and they are not less adapted for the 
stage, where the dramatic interest is throughout maintained, and 
the spectator is always interested in the events passing before him. 

Even the names of the dramatic pieces of Italy, in the sixteenth 
century, are scarcely preserved in the records of literature. Bat 
posterity seems to have paid a greater respect to the memory of 
some of the lyric and pastoral poets. Many of these have retained 
great celebrity, even after their works have ceased io be read. 
Such, among others, was the case with Giacomo Sanazzaro, bom 
at Naples, on the* twenty-eighth of July, 1458 ; who died, in the 
same city, at the end of the year 1530; and whose tomb, very 
near to that of Virgil, may almost be said to partake of its cele- 
brity. Although he belonged to a distinguished family, he did not 
^inherit any fortune ; owing all that he enjoyed to the favour of the 
^vcreigns of Maples. He was early remarkable for Us proficiency 



in Greek and Roman literature ; bot his love for a lady of the name 
of Carmosina Bonifacia, the rest of whose history is wholly nn" 
known, engaged him to write in Italian. He celebrated this lady in 
hiis Arcadia^ and in his sonnets ; and, when death deprired him of 
her, he renounced the Italian muses for Latin composition* From 
that tifne, he was devoted to religious observances, which had be- 
fore held little place in his thoughts. The kings of Naples of the 
house of Aragon, Ferdinand I., Alfonsa II., and Frederic, loaded 
him with favours. The last of these princes presented him with 
the beautiful Filla Mergolina^ where Sanazzaro delighted to real- 
ize his dreams of happiness, in an Arcadia of his own. But the 
wars between the French and the Spaniards, m the kingdom of 
Naples, overwhelmed him in common ruin with bis benefactors. 
Faithful to the house of Aragon, he sold almost all his possessions, 
in order to remit the proceeds to Frederic, when the dethroned 
king was sent as a hostage to France. Sanazzaro followed him 
thither, and shared his exile, from 1501 to lôOô. He was destined 
to close the eyes of his royal benefactor ; and expressed his attach- 
ment for him, and his regret for his misfortunes, with a warmth of 
patriotism and courage, which do) honour to his character. His 
Mergolina, to which he had returned, was afterwards pillaged and 
wasted by the army of the Prince of Orange, in the service of 
Charles V. He passed the latter years of his life in a village of the 
Somma, one of the heights of Vesuvius. A Marchioness Cassan- 
dra, to whom he was attached, resided there also, but at the dis- 
tance of a mile ; and Sanazzaro, a septuagenarian, never parsed a 
day without visiting her. He died at the end of the year lôSO^ 
aged seventy-two. 

The Arcadia of Sanazzaro, on which his reputation principally 
depends, was begun by him In his early youth, and published in 
1504, when he was forty-six years of age. A species of romantic 
pastoral, in prose and without action, serves to connect twelve ro- 
mantic and pastoral scenes, and twelve eclogues of shepherds in Ar- 
cadia. Each part commences with a short recital in elegant prose, 
and ends with an eclogue in verse. In the seventh, Sanazzaro him- 
self appears in Arcadia ; he recounts the exploits of his family, the 
honours they obtained at Naples, and how love had driven him into 
exile. Thus, the ancient Arcadia is, to Sanazzaro, nothing more 
than the poetical world of his own age. He awakes, in the twelfth 
eclogue, as from a dream. The plan of this piece may be subject 
to criticism, but the execution is elegant. Sanazzaro, inspired 
by a sentiment of tender passion, found, in his own mind, that 
reverie of enthusiasm that belongs to pastoral poetry. The sen- 
timents, as in all idyls, are sometimes trite and affected, though 
sometimes, also, breathing warmth and nature. The thoughts, 
the imagesi and the language, are always poetical, except that he 
has too frequently introduced Latin words, which were not then 
naturalized into the Tuscan dialect. The stanzas, with which 
each eclogue terminates, are generally under the lyric form of 



catizoni. The afth, of which the three first slanzai are liere 
translated, on the tomb of a young shepherd, maj serre to com- 
pare the poetical feelings of the Italians, which are whoOj de* 
rived from the imagination, with those of the North, in which the 
heart has the greater share. 
Ergasto thus speaks, over the tomb of his deceased firieiiA: 

brief as bright, too eariy blect. 
Pure spirit, freed (rem mortal care, 
Safe in Che far-oflf mansions of the skj, 
There, with that angel take thy rest, 
Thy star oo earth ; go take tby gnertoi there ; 
Together qiiaflfth' immortal joys, oo high. 
Scorning our mortal destiny ; 
Display thy sainted beauty bright, 
'Mid those that walk the starry spheres. 
Through seasons of unehaaging yemrt ; 
By living fountains, and by fields of l^htf 
Leading thy blessed flocks above ; 
And teach thy shepherds here to guard thehr ear» witb love. 

Thine, other hilb, and other groves. 
And streams, and rivers nerer dry. 
On whose fresh banks thou pluck'st the amaruith flowers ; 
While, following other loves 
Through sunny glades, the Fauas glide by 
Surprising the fond nymphs in happier bowevs» 
Pressing the fragrant flowers, 
Androgeo, there, sings in the summer shade, 
By Daphnts* and by Melibœus^ side, 
Filling the vaulted heavens wide 
With the sweet music made ; 
While the glad choirs that round appear. 
Listen to his dear voice we may no longer hear.* 

* Alma beata e belle 

Che, da iegami sciolta, 

Nuda salisti ne' superni chiostri, 

Ove con la tua Stella 

Ti godi insieme accolta ; 

E lieta ivi, schernendo i pens 1er nostri, 

Quasi un bel sol ti mostri 

Trà li piu chiari spirti ; 

£ CO i vestigi santi 

Calchi le stelle erranti ; 

£ trà pure fontane, e saeri mhrti 


£ i tuoi cari pastori indi GorreggL 

AM monti, atori piaoi, 
Altri bofchetti e riyi, 
Vedi nel cielo, e piu novelU flori ; 
Altri Fauni e Silvani 
Per luogihi dolci estivi, 


As to the elm is hia embracing vine. 
As their bold monaith to the herded kine, 
As goidee ears to the glad sunny plain, 
Such wert thou to our shepherd youths, O swain ! 
Remorseless death ! if thus thy flames consume 
The best and loftiest of his race. 
Who may escape his doom 7 
What shepherd ever more shall grace 
The world like him, and with his magic «train 
Gall forth the |oyou8 Icavea upon the woods. 

Or bid the wreathing boughs embower the summer floods ? 


There have been more than sixty editions of the Arcadia. At 
the present day, it is little read, as nothing is more opposite to the 
spini of oar age, than the characteristic insipidity of pastorals. 
Sanazzaro, besides his Latin poems, which are highly oelebrated, 
and «vhich he pablishedh under his academical name oi AictMs 
SyncerQS, wrote many sonnets and canzvm* In order to affordyéo 
those who do not read Italian, a specimen of the thoughts and - 
imaglnadon of a celebrated poet, whose name is often #e|>efeitâdt 
and whose works are little read, a translation of one of his éoà- 
tiets, which he pats into the month of his deceased mistress, to ' 
wlioffl he had been tenderly attached, js here given. 

BelOTad, well tHoa know^t bow many a year 

I dwelt with thee on earth, ta blissfiil love } 

Mow am I call*d to walk the realms aboTO, ^ 
And vain to me the world's cold shows appear. ^ 

Segair le Ninfe in più felici amori > 

Tal fri^Boa? i i^dorl 

]>olfe cantAndo alP ombra, 

Ttk Bafni e Helibeo, 

Siede II nostro Androgeo, 

£ di rara doloezia U cielo ingombra ; 

Temprando gli elemOnti 

C ol saon dr nuofi inusitati accents. 

Qnale la vite all' olmo, 
£d agli anaenti fl toro, 
B P andeggianti biade a' lieti campi ; 
Tale la gloria e 1 colmo 
Fostè del nostro coro» 
Ahieruda mortel e chi 6a eke ne dcampi^ 
8e con tne flamme avvampl 
Le pift elevate cime 1 
Chi vedrà mai ad moado 
Ybstor tanto gioeondo, 
- Che^ eaatando fira noi si ddldtiaie. 
Spam il boseo di fronde, 
B di bel cami indaea onbia fàronda2 

* tissa taeo aon io mam « laMf «Mtf, 

Coa qoala aamr, tn !l isi, fldë eaasamt 
Paiiaciia fl mio fll la ginsta morte, 
9 ni sottsasso alii aottdani iaganni. 



Enthroned in bliss, I know no mortal fe&r. 
And in my death with no sharp pangs I strove. 
Save when I thought that thon wert left to proTe 

A joyless fate, and shed the bitter tear. 

Bnt round thee plays a ray of heavenly light, 
And ah ! I hope, that ray shall lend its aid 

To guide thee through the dark abyss of night. 
Weep then no more, nor be thy heart dismayM ; 

When close thy mortal days, in fond delight 
My soul shall meet thee, in new love array'd. 

A new description of poetry arose io Italy, under Francesco 
Bemi, which has retained the name of the inventor. The Italians 
always attach the appellation of bemesque to that light and elegant 
mockery, of which he set the example, and which pervades all 
bis writings. The gayety with which he recounts serious events» 
wtthoat rendering them valgar, is not confounded hy his country* 
men with the burlesque, to which it is so nearly allied. It is> 
above all, in the Orlanio InnamorcUo of the Count Boiarda, remo- 
^lled by Bemi in a free and lively style, that we perceive the 
lalness of his genius. His other works, imbued, perhaps, with 
more comic wit, trespass too frequently on the bounds of pro- 
priety* Francesco Bemi was born about 1490, at Lamporecchio, 
a castle between Florence and Pistoia. We know little more of 
his biography than what he relates himself, in a jestmg tone, in 
the sixty-seventh canto of his Orlando Innamorato, He was of a 
noble, but not opulent family. Ât nineteen years of age, he went 
to Rome, full of confidence in the protection of Cardinal Dovizio 
da Bibbiena, who, in fact, took little interest in his weHare^ After 
the death of that prelate, being always embarrassed, he entered 
as secretary into the Apostolic Datary.* He there found the 

" ' 

Se lieta io goda ne i beati scanni, 
Ti giuro che 1 morir non mi At forte, 
S« non pensando alia tua cruda sorte, 
£ che sol ti lasciaTa in tanti aifanni. 

Ma la Tîrtà che 'n te dal ciel riluce, 
Al passar questo abisso oscuro e cieco 
Spnro che ti sarà maestra e dnce* 

Non pianger piik : ch' io sard sembre teco ', 
£ bella e Ti?a al fin della tiia lace 
Venir vedrai me, e rimeaarten meco. 

* A fiiw stansas have been selected, as displaying at the same time flie style 
and the personal character of Bemi. 

Credeva il pover* nom di saper fare 
Qnello esereisio, e non ne sapea stracdo ; 
n padron non potè mai content;^tie, : . 

B p« BOA vsi «ai di qufll^Q. ÎPiipMoiff î 



itoeaus of life, but was oppressed by bd irksome employ» to wliicb 
he was never reconciled. Ilia labours increased, in proportion 
as be gave less satisfaction. He carried under his arms, in his 
bosom, and in his pockets, whole packets of letters, to which he 
never found time to reply. His revenues were small, and when 
he came to collect them, he frequently found, according to his 

Qttanto peggio facea, pin area da fare ; 
Avera sempre in seno e sotto U biteeio, 
Dietro e innanzl, di lettere un fastello, 
£ 8crive?a, e stillavasi il cervello. 

Quiri anche, o fusse la disgrazia, o M poci 
Merito suo, non ebbe troppo bene : 
Gerti beneficioli arefa loco 
Nel paesel, cbe gli eran brigbe e pene : 
Or la tempesta, or I'aequa, ed or il foco 
Or i) dia?ol V entrate gli ritiene ; 
B certe magre pensioni aveva 
Onde mai un quattrin non riscoteva. 

Era forte collerico e sdegnoso, 
Delia Ungua e del cor libero e sciolta; 
Non era avaro, non ambizioso, 
Era fedele ed amore?ol molto : 
Degli am ici amator miracoloso, 
Cosi anche chi in odio avea tolto 
Odiava a guerra flnita e mortale ; 
Ma piu pronto er* a amar ch' a Tolèr male. 

Di persona era grande, magro e scbietto,' 
Lunghe e sottil le gambe forte avoTa^ 
B'l naao grande, e 'I viso largo, e stretto 
Lo spazio che le ciglia divideva : 
^ Concavo V occhio avea azzuiro e netto, 
La barba folta, quasi il naseondera 
Se I'aresse portata, ma il padrone 
AveTa con le barbe akpra questione. 

Nesisun di serritù giammai si dolse 
Ne più ne fii uimico di costui, 
E pure a consumarlo il diafol tolse, 
Sempre il tenue fortuna in forza altrui : 
Sempre ohe comandargU il padron Tolse,' 
Pi non servirlo venue ?oglia a lui, 
Yoleva far da se, non comandato. 
Com' UD gli comandaTa era spacciato. 

Cacce, musiche, festej suoni e balli, 
Giochi, nessuna sorte di piacere 
Troppo il movea, piacevangli i cantUi 
Asaai, ma si pasceva del redere, 
Che modo non avea da comperalli ; 
Onde il suo somme bene era in giacere 
Nudo, lungo, disteso, e '1 suo diletto 
Era non far mai nulla, e starsi in letto. 
toL. 1. 43 


own expresfiioDS, that «torms, water, fire, or the devil, had swept 
them entirely away. His mirth, and the verses and tales which* 
he recited, made him an acceptable member of society ; hot, 
whatever love he might have had for liberty, he remained always* 
in a state of dependence. By his satires he made himself many 
enemies, the most vindictive of whom was Pietro Aretino, who»* 
he, in turn, did not spare. Berni, who informs ns that his great- 
est pleasure was lying in bed and doing nothing, experienced, if 
we are to believe common ramouFp a death more tragic than we 
should have been led to expect from his situation in life. He was 
the common friend of the Cardinal Ippolito and the Duke Ales- 
sandro de' Medici, who were cousins-german, and was solicited by 
the latter of these to poison his relation. As he refused to par- 
ticipate in so black a crime, he was himself poisoned a few days 
afterwards, in the year. 1 536.' In the same year the Cardinal Ip- 
polito vas, in fact, poisoned by his cousin. 

Berni had diligently studied the ancients, and wrote himself 
elegant Latin verse. He had purified his taste, and accustomed 
himself to correction. His style possesses so much nature and 
comic truth, that we can easily imagine the enthusiasm with which 
it is to this day adopted as a model. But, under his hand, every 
thing was transformed into ridicule. His Satire was almost al* 
ways personal ; and when he wished to excite laughter, he was 
not to be restrained by any respect for morals or for decency. 
His Orlando Innamorato is ranked, by the Italians, among their 
classical poems. Berni, even more than Ariosto, treats chivalr}" 
With a degree of mockery. He has not, indeed, travestied the 
tale of Boiardo. It is the same tale sincerely narrated, but by a 
man who cannot resist indulging in laughter at the absurd sugges- 
tions of his own genius. The versification is carefully formed ; ' 
wit is thrown out with a lavish hand ; and the gayety is more 
sportive than that of Ariosto ; but the two poems will not bear a- 
comparison in respect to imagination, colouring, richness, anâ real 
poetry. The other works of Berni are satirical sonnets, and Ca- 
pito'li, in terza rimay among which the eulogy on the Plague, and 
that on Aristotle are conspicuous. They were prohibited, and, 
indeed, not without very good reason. - 

Few men were more admired and obtained a greater share of 
fame, in the sixteenth- century, than Pietro Bembo, who was born, 
at Venice, of an illustrious family, on. the twenty-sixth of May, 
1470. Connected in friendship with all the men of. letteis and 
first poets of his age, he was a lover of the celebrated Lucretia 
Borgia, daughter of Alexander VI., and wife of Alfonso, Duke of 
Ferrara; and was a favourite with the Popes Leo X. and Clement 
Vll., who loaded him with Honours, pensions, and benefices. Ile 
enjoyed, from the year 1529, the title of Historiographer to the 
Republic of Venice ; and Paul III. finally created him a Cardinal 
in 1539. Wealth, fame,, and the most honourable employs seemed 
to pursue him, and snatched him, in spite of himself, from a lifs of 

OP THE Italians.- 339 

épitarean pleasure, which he did not renounce when he took tire 
ecclesiastical habit. His death was occasioned by a fall from his 
horse» on the eighteenth day of January, 1547, in his seventy- 
seventh year. He was the admiration of his own age, which 
placed him in the first rank of classic aathors. His fame, how* 
ever, has since materially declined. Bembo, who had professedly 
skidied the Latin and the Tuscan languages, and composed, in both, 
with the utmost purity and elegance, was, all his life, too exclusively 
occupied with words to siipport the brilliancy of his fame, after 
the Latin was no longer cultivated with ardour, and custom had 
introduced many alterations in the Tuscan. The style of Bembo, 
which was highly extolled in his lifetime, appears, at the present 
day, affected and greatly laboured. We are aware of his imita* 
tions in every line, and seek in vain for an expression of genuine 
sentiment. Neither is he distinguished by depth of thought, 
or by vivacity of imagination. He has aspired to rank himself 
with Cicero in Latin prose, and with Petrarch and Boccaccio in 
Italian poetry and prose ; but, however great the resemblance 
•maybe, we instinctivçly distinguish the original from the CQpy, 
-5ind the voluminous writings of Bembo now find few readers. His 
History of Venice, in twelve books, his letters, and his dialogues, 
in the Italian language, are among the best of his prose works. 
His canzoniere may bear a comparison with that of Petrarch. His 
conversations on love, which he entitled Asolaniy and which are 
interspersed with poetry, approach to the style of the tales of 
Boccaccio. The singular purity of style, on which he prides 
himself, and which his contemporaries acknowledged, has not, on 
all occasions, preserved him from concetti and affectation.* Oc- 
-casionallyT^however, we fincf in him not only imagination, but real 

* We may instance the following verses of Perottfno, in the AscHaniy fi. iL 
ip. 12. 

Quand' io penso al martif e, 
Amor, cbe tu mi dai gravoso e forte, 
Corro per girne a morte, 
Cx>sî sperando i miei danni finire. 

Ma poi ch' io giungo al passo 
Chi' è porto in questo mar d' ogni tormento, 
Tanto piacer ne sento 
Che 1' alma si rinforza ed io non passo. 

Cosî il viver m' ancide, 
Cosi la morte mi ritorna in vita;; 
O miseria infinita 
Cbe 1' uno apporta e 1' altro non recide. 

In another canzone, be be wails« himself, as a victim to the two extremes -of 
^torture, in~the flames of love which «corch him, and in ^he tears which inun- 
idate him*; and he thus affectedly concludes tBe piece : 

Chi vidde mai tal sorte, 
Tenerai in vita un uom, con doppia morte.